"…a time capsule that can be read as a reminder of how a generation lived."

Playing on Cotton Clouds

Written by Michela O'Brien

Genre: General Fiction, Women's Contemporary

Book Synopsis

When Arty Livy falls for her sister’s boyfriend, she knows her dreams are unlikely to come true… Sensitive Seth thinks he has hit the jackpot when the girl of his dreams finally looks his way… While laidback Aidan is every girl’s hero.

Fast forward twenty-five years as carefree youth turns into adulthood responsibilities, relationships begin and end, music and fashion change, and life moves on with its successes, failures and heartaches. As the friends grow up, they discover life rarely turns out the way you imagined it at fifteen.

The rites of passage through years are eerily familiar to every 1980s teenager in this moving, heartfelt novel.

Beth's Rating

Beth's Review

Rarely does a work of fiction portray a generation accurately, but Michela O’Brien weaves twenty-five years of love, life, friendship, tragedy, and triumph seamlessly in one novel. PLAYING ON COTTON CLOUDS is a well-written novel chronicling the lives and inter-action of four people in England from their teen years in 1980’s England into their forties.

I appreciated the way O’Brien divided the novel by year. She made it easy to follow the passage of time as well as dropping the reader into the moment without pages of mindless set up. However, she didn’t allow the time factor to overshadow her strong characters. She used it as a simple backdrop for Livy, her sister, Aiden, and Seth to live out their lives.

Ms. O’Brien’s main characters are well-developed individuals. You feel each character’s joys and sorrows as they travel through time, the world, and life. She uses her characters to expose the issues of the times. Global awareness, drugs, sex, marriage, careers, children, illness, life, and death are all touched upon by the author. My only major complaint of PLAYING ON COTTON CLOUDS was that I felt short-changed by the amount of time I spent with each character. All of the major characters easily deserved their own novel so their stories could each be fleshed out.

One small warning to non-British readers. Ms. O’Brien uses large amounts of British slang in her dialog. While this makes sense, as her characters are British, it may be frustrating or confusing for those unfamiliar with the language. Having spent time in England, I found the need to stop twice and look up phrases. However, I could see this as a distraction to some readers.

As a teenager of the 80’s myself, I feel Michela O’Brian did a brilliant job of creating a time capsule that can be read as a reminder of how a generation lived with her novel, PLAYING ON COTTON CLOUDS.

Disclaimer: Not recommended for children of all ages due to sex, language, and references to drugs and alcohol.