Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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

Title: 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas
Author: Marie-Helene Bertino
Format: ARC
Publisher: Crown
Publish Date: August 5, 2014 (Today!)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve 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."

My Two Cents:

In "2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas," we meet 9 year old Madeleine, a precocious child beyond her years. She dreams desperately of becoming a jazz singer after being embarrassed at her school concert the previous year. All she does is practice and she knows that she can be great even if no one else believes that. This is a wholly original story that made for a good read!

The book definitely took awhile for me to get into. At first I was sort of wondering where it was going with a 9 year old girl who loves to curse at its center. The entire book takes place in just one day, Christmas Eve Eve and each chapter is titled with the time of day that the events following took place. We meet several different characters, including a dog with a penchant for wandering all over. Madeleine was definitely my favorite character. We definitely get to know her best throughout the story. The book has a very large cast so we don't get to know everyone quite as well in the story and I wish that we did. Or I wish that there had been more of a focus on certain characters in order to prevent some confusion.

In a way, this story is also a love letter to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. You can tell that the author put a lot of thought into how to describe all of the places that Madeleine and the other characters go. I really liked all of the descriptions of the city. You can really feel the frozen, dark streets.

Overall, this book does take awhile to get into but I really liked the way that Bertino ties everything so neatly together. As one of my very favorite teachers was so fond of saying, it comes together like a hot kiss at the end of a wet fist!


1 comment:

  1. With a 9 year old who likes to curse, the book certainly would have been intriguing if irritating at the same time.


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