Shiu Wei-ya, MA, Master of Arts, Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University
Granny, Hug Me! Watching Little Dragon Grow is a prose collection by a new grandmother recording her granddaughter slowly growing up. Author Liao Yuhui has collected pictures, photographs, and text from Facebook to compile a light-hearted look at how her granddaughter interacts with the rest of the family. She uses an unfussy Facebook style to construct an open and honest account with occasional personal revelations. Reading this book is like having a relaxed and enjoyable chat with good neighbors or close relatives.
Granny, Hug Me! is divided into seven chronological parts. The first part, “Dreaming of a Grandchild” describes how the author and her husband hope for a grandchild and how they often pester their son asking if and when a grandchild will be coming. The grandfather even draws pictures featuring his dream grandchild, producing sketches showing everyday scenes like “Grandchild Doing Homework” and “Grandchild Touring South America.” Amazingly, all the drawings, hopes, and fantasies come true when the grandchild actually arrives.
Born in the Year of the Dragon, Liao’s granddaughter is very reasonably nicknamed “Little Dragon.” The newcomer is experiencing life and the world and everything in it for the very first time, and the new granny is also rediscovering all the wonders of the ordinary. The stories of how the grandparents strive to please Little Dragon also show how their mutual affection and childlike innocence still endure. Little Dragon’s every move stirs the heart strings of the whole family, as we see in the section entitled “Our Granddaughter’s Adorable Hairpiece,” which tells of Little Dragon wearing two wigs that Grandpa has made to amuse everyone during the Autumn Festival. Grandpa also makes a declaration to “forge ahead in his craft, to shine like a star, to set a good example.” Read together with Liao Yuhui’s Winter Buds (written just before the publication of Granny, Hug Me!), this book shows how love for their grandchild rekindles vitality in a couple in the winter of their lives and gives them an opportunity to grow.
Liao Yuhui’s prose is rich and full of emotion, particularly when recounting Little Dragon’s interactions with her mother and her two grandmothers. During her daughter-in-law’s pregnancy, Liao looks back on the period when she was raising her own children, reflecting on how the experience gave her a more profound understanding of life, as well as a vivid sense of happiness and joy at watching the next generation grow.