Written as a diary by Angie Moon, ‘Cloud Boy’ follows her life with her ‘almost twin’, Harry Christmas, who lives next door. Partners in everything from sweet eating to cloud watching, they have a wonderful tree house- Artcloud- built for their birthdays which spans both gardens. Life is great until Harry’s mysterious headaches and fatigue turn out to be far more serious than anyone could have imagined and their friendship is tested to the limit.
Interwoven into this story of friendship are the experiences of Angie’s great-grandmother who was a prisoner in Changi prison, told as a series of letters she wrote to her kitten whilst interred. Both stories are pieced together as two quilts are made- one years ago in prison and the other now. Beautifully written, the story captures the fear and pain of both girls as they struggle to come to terms with very different, but both very traumatic events in their lives.
Marcia Williams has captured Angie’s feelings brilliantly as she experiences a whole range of complex, fluctuating emotions. The diary style allows her to express her bursts of anger, her indignant voice ringing clear as she freely pours out her feelings. Deeply moving, the conclusion is heartbreaking and yet full of love.
Grandma’s story is also an incredibly moving one, particularly as it is based on the real life experiences of a survivor of Changi prison who was involved in the making of the quilt. Marcia Williams has stuck on an ingenious way of sharing the little known history behind this and how it was made. It is a fascinating, if at times, painful read with a note at the back to further explain the history behind the quilt- a symbol of love, resilience and ingenuity.
I can’t express how much I loved this book and am completely failing to do it justice here. Although I sobbed my way through sections of it, there are also moments of humour. The text is a relatively easy read, but the content is not. Marcia Williams employs great skill in dealing with painful, difficult subject matter and showing that not all stories have a happy ending. A fascinating, moving book about the importance of love, friendship and stories.
Cloud Boy Marcia Williams
Walker Books ISBN: 978-1406381214