Instantly I was enchanted by Madeleine the cigarette-smoking, shoulder-shimmying, 9-year-old woman-child we meet on the first page of the book. If the author, Marie-Helene Bertino, hadn't told us her age, I would have thought Madeleine was a 20-something with swagger. She's an old soul trapped in a sassy girl's body. Love her!
I don't want to spoil the story for you, but this is definitely a fun read that will keep you interested, entertained and perhaps even entranced this Christmas. The story takes place on the eve of Christmas Eve, so let it whisk you away into its quirky world with its oddball characters and twisty plot. You'll love it!
From the Publisher:
ABOUT 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMASAn enchanting and staggeringly original debut novel about one day in the lives of three unforgettable characters
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.
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.
I received this book from "Blogging for Books" for the purpose of this review.