I am Full Moon: Stories of a Ninth Daughter – a ReviewJanuary 21st, 2011 by Larry Wong
This is a wonderful and delightful memoir of a Chinese family growing up in the 1930s in the interior of British Columbia. It is written by Lily Hoy Price, the ninth daughter of Chow Dong Hoy. Altogether the parents had nine daughters and three sons. Lily’s Chinese name is Full Moon.
At the young at heart age of 70, Lily took a creative writing course and was encouraged by her instructor to continue with her writing. The result is a warm and loving look of a family of 14 living in a house built by their father.
Lily captured vividly the country living of her childhood years in Quesnel. She recounts early memories such as the time when her parents returned from the big city of Vancouver with bags of presents for their children. Lily was overcome with excitement when her mother presented her with a pair of shoes but a few moments later decided the shoes were a better fit for her older sister. On another occasion there was a doll that came to the same fate of the shoes. Years later, when both sisters are in their mature years, her sister dropped by with two parcels containing, you guessed it, a pair of shoes and a doll.
There are sad stories too such as her older brother Ben, dying from cancer but mostly Lily writes with affection of her childhood memories.
Her father was born in China in 1883 and came to Canada in 1902. He came from an impoverished family and found or made any work possible. He was a houseboy, cook, surveyor, miner, barber, and watchmaker. His legacy however, is the more than 1500 photographs he took in the Cariboo region. They were portraits of Chinese, Aboriginals and Caucasian labourers. Their glass negatives were discovered by Faith Moosang in the Barkerville archives and were the basis of the photo exhibit and eventual book, First Son: Portraits by C.D. Hoy.
In Full Moon, all of the photos were taken by him, including those of early Quesnel which Lily cherishes. Her writing evokes the early days when life was much simpler and honour and responsibility were without question.
This memoir is exquisite and should be read about a time and way of life now gone forever.
Lily was invited to the 2009 Sunshine Coast Festival of Written Arts in Sechelt,B.C. as one of 20 new voices where she was recognized for her writing.