The Seagull’s Gardener, by Pam Chun
(PAM CHUN, 2012, PP. 236, $14)
Hawaii-born and Alameda-based writer Pam Chun has penned her third book, a memoir about her father, Woody, a passionate and gentle gardener with an affinity for a certain seagull. Born Kwai Wood, Woody came of age in Territorial Hawaii, living for nearly a century, a wiry and exuberant force of nature with a zest for life and unfailing love of family until his death. Chun shares endearing details and touching observations about her father and herself, devoting a good bit of prose to the anguish and guilt boomers face as they must, as did she, care for an aging parent in a faraway place. There is a somber undertone to be sure, but Chun counteracts it with simple grace and dignity that elevates her father’s simple existence into an awesome one. From that higher plane, the author ultimately reflects on her father’s passing with a sense of warmth and fulfillment rather than cold and emptiness.
—Judith M. Gallman