Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajama's by Marie-Helene Bertino (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 
About the book-

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn’t realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.

My thoughts-

I have been hearing about 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajama's for a while now. It's been talked about on pretty much all of the bookish Facebook groups I belong to and has been mentioned on countless must-read lists. It sounded different and interesting so I was excited to read it. I loved the concept of  going through a single day in the lives of three different people who all end up in the same spot in the end, but at times I felt like some of the details were uninteresting. Most interesting to me was the story of Serena and Ben. I always enjoyed reading about what was going on with those two and appreciated the flashback to help understand why they ended up where they were and why it was a big deal. I also found the whimsy parts of the book that dealt with Madeleine quite a bit. Hers was a sad, but intriguing story. For some reason I just could not come to care about Lorca, but without him this book would be pointless, so I understand why he was necessary. I found the book to have a more melancholy tone than a dark comedy tone, but there were definitely a few times that I found myself laughing outloud. 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajama's was a pretty quick read and overall I thought it was a great novel from Bertino.  I would recommend the book to anyone that enjoys contemporary fiction.

About the author-

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of Safe as Houses, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction 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. A Philadelphia native, she currently lives in Brooklyn.

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