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.
2 a.m. at The Cat Pajamas sounded like such a fun book when I read the back cover. Unfortunately I found it very slow and confusing. What I thought would be a story about a little girl living her dream turned into a confusion of many characters trying to be the lead.
Sarina and Lorca both vie for attention from Madeleine’s story and unfortunately all three characters suffer. There are also many sub-characters who are interweaved into the story that you lose track of who they are and who they know and don’t know.
For me this book was really slow and hard to get through. I pushed on when I was ready to give up and was still confused once I did finish it. Madeleine sounded like such a great character when I started, but her attitude and manner actually turned me off her. I can understand having a hard home life and losing a parent. But for me she was a bit too much.
Sarina’s story really didn’t make sense as it kept jumping back and forth from the present to the past. At one point I didn’t even realize her story was taking place. Lorca’s story was a little easier to follow, but by the time he was center stage I was so confused by the rest of the book that I couldn’t care for this character.
Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of Safe As Houses, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, and has received numerous accolades for her short stories. Originally from Philadelphia, she now lives in Brooklyn. 2am At The Cat's Pajamas is her first novel. For more information, please visit her website: www.mariehelenebertino.com
Unfortunately I really can’t recommend this book.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Stephanie