Monday, August 25, 2014

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas: A Novel by Marie-Helene Bertino

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

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.

A sparkling and completely original novel, 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS will capture your heart and make you root for Madeleine, Sarina, Lorca, and those whose lives they touch around them.

my thoughts:

A quirky and compelling read about a cast of eccentric characters living in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve eve.  Madeline is a precocious nine-year-old who just wants to sing; Sarina is a newly divorced teacher who still harbors feelings for her old high school crush; and Lorca owns a jazz club that's about to be shut down - all three characters will experience one unforgettable night. 

Marie-Helene Bertino has created a wonderfully sad, comical, and magical read with 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas.  She has written a story that will entertain, intrigue, and charm the pants off you.  I absolutely loved this book!  It has love, loss, community, family, desire, dreams, and so much more packed into it - you can't help but fall in deep with the characters.  There are three story lines, but my favorite was Madelines.  This little girl who smoked, cursed, and defied expectations was a delight to read.  All she wants to do is sing, so when given the chance at school one morning - she is over the moon!  Except, Madeline doesn't get the chance to sing in the end and winds up getting expelled from school.  She has no one to report her news to except the neighborhood that is raising her.  Her mother passed away and her father has become a recluse, so Madeline is left to her own devices.  She has a recipe box of her mother's tips on life that she looks through on a daily basis and she has a passion to sing, but that's about all she has.  Thanks to her mother's friendships, she also has a neighborhood willing to feed her, watch after, and take care of her.  Its heartbreaking, but comforting to know that Madeline isn't really alone. 

As for Sarina, she's Madeline's teacher who feels badly that the little girl didn't get a chance to sing or eat a candy apple.  Her story follows her to a dinner with friends from high school that she really wasn't friends with - awkward much?  At the dinner she winds up running into her prom date and crush from high school.  He's actually the reason she went to the dinner.  Turns out that he's always harbored a crush on her as well, but as a teen-aged boy he took advice from his older brother and wound up ruining his one and only date with Sarina.  Years later, he's separated from his wife and Sarina is newly divorced - will a walk around the city rekindle old feelings?  And then there is Lorca, the owner of the once famous jazz club, The Cat's Pajamas - he's just been fined thirty thousand dollars in citations.  I guess setting fire to a drum kit wasn't a good idea, eh?  Plus, his girlfriend has just moved out and left him.  Oh and his teen-aged son is heading down the wrong path.  Hmm...Lorca has definitely kept his eyes shut as of lately and looks like Christmas Eve eve is the night its all gonna hit the fan. 

Now, that is all I'm going to write about this fantastic novel.  I just don't want to spoil any of the magic from the story - you have to read it for yourself!  I will say this - someone does rock the stage at The Cat's Pajamas at 2 A.M..  And someone does float away in the end, which I thought was pretty amazing and chalked up to the magic of Christmas.  So, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Marie-Helene Bertino's terrific book, 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas - you will love it! 

Check out the schedule for the TLC Book Tour of: 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Ti said...

I skimmed a little as I have yet to read it and it's been waiting patiently for me to pick it up. But it looks like you liked it!

Nadia said...

Ti, I loved it and think that you will, too! Let me know what you think of it :)