Written by Carl Anderson, A Mother-Father Complex, talks about love, hate, and the romantic discord that inevitably happens in a marital affair. The book has a poem format, allowing the train of thoughts of the prominent voice to flow freely. This writing style provided raw and unabashed perspectives on the dark sides of marital problems and how they spill over into the parents’ relationship with their child.
One standout was the author’s frequent use of explicit words and references to specific taboo topics, such as pornography. For me, this made the book extra interesting to read, especially when people are forced to stay at home and spend most of their time with their family, making them vulnerable to discovering indifferences within the household. The author dropped a lot of symbolism throughout the entire book that would often require a careful re-reading. For example, one central focus toward the end was the father’s love for the child and vice versa. A quick read reminded me of the Oedipus complex, a Freudian theory in which children unconsciously feel desire for their parents on the opposite sex and jealous over their same-sex parent. There were hints of theory in the book, and in some stanzas the father appeared to be comparing his wife with his daughter. The book also used sexual innuendos as its key themes, reminding me of the classic book Lolita.
Reading A Mother-Father Complex up to the end left more questions than answers for me. Does the child have daddy issues? How did the relationship between the parents turn sour? Is this a story about failed incest? I think the beauty of this book is in these unanswered questions. It is a raw take on the dark side of marital conflict, which is prevalent now that everyone is stuck at home. I would not mind re-reading this book and seeing whether its symbolism and references would change over time.