Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas


 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Crown (August 5, 2014)
2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS begins on a quiet morning in a Philadelphia apartment the day before Christmas Eve, where we meet the precocious and smart-mouthed nine-year-old Madeleine Altimari.  Madeleine’s mother has recently died, and her father is still lost in his grief. Meanwhile, Madeleine finds solace in music and aspires to become a jazz singer. Just two days shy of her tenth birthday, she is about to have the most remarkable day of her life.

After facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine decides today is the day to find Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club, The Cat’s Pajamas, and make her debut. On the same day, Madeleine’s fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who has moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with her high school love. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Jack Lorca discovers that his beloved venue may close be closed due to financial woes by the end of the night. As we follow these three lost souls over the course of twenty-four hours, we also meet a cast of unique and brilliant characters who surround them – from the warm-hearted cafe owner Mrs. Santiago to Melissa, the former “snake lady” exotic dancer who might be Lorca’s last hope for love.  With sharp wit and irrepressible spirit, Marie-Helene Bertino turns Philadelphia into a magical place where anything can happen.

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image006About Marie-Helene Bertino

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the story collection Safe as Houses, which won the 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Prize and The Pushcart Prize, and was long-listed for The Story Prize and The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. An Emerging Writer Fellow at New York’s Center for Fiction, she has spent six years as an editor and writing instructor at One Story.
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My Thoughts: 
I had a bit of a time getting into the story at first, but once I had about 50 pages in I was hooked! The story was quite charming and fun. It's not a serious read, but it's not super cheesy and dumb. It's kind of comfortably in the  middle, and I mean that in the BEST way possible! It's got wit, it's got charm, and it's got heart. The writing is tight and the story flowed smoothly. Out of the main cast of characters, I loved Madeleine's story the most. There were other standouts, but her story was the highlight. The rest were icing.

2 A.M at the Cat's Pajamas isn't a ground breaking book by any means; however it's a fun book and one I enjoyed thoroughly! 

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