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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blog Tour: 2 AM at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Author: Marie-Helene Bertino
Publisher: Crown
Date of publication:  August 2014

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.

The premise for this book intrigued me, so I dove right in. I liked the idea that the entire story takes place in a day. Kind of like a day in the life of these people.  Sadly, I didn't finish the story.  I just couldn't connect with it.  I got about halfway through.  I often found the story line confusing and had a hard time keeping my interest in their lives.

Though the book takes place "today", it had an old feel to it, like the story should have been set in the 50s or 60s.  A few things bothered me about it...such as chalkboard erasers.  Do schools even use chalk boards anymore?  I know around here it's all dry erase boards. The attitude of the principal toward Madeleine was atrocious and I had a hard time buying that many people would let her get away with it. Finally, the lice thing drove me nuts. Has the author been around anyone with lice lately?  School nurses are a bit more discreet than the ones in the book.  And anyone who has dealt with lice knows that it isn't just a matter of washing the hair for a week with special shampoo.  It is a LOT more involved than that. I was cringing as the hair dresser sent her home without giving her more instructions.   I know those are nit-picky things, but for me, they are enough to drive me crazy while reading a book.

I think readers who love this type of quirky/artsy type book will like this one a lot, it just wasn't my style.


About the author:


Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the story collection Safe as Houses, which won the 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Prize and The Pushcart Prize, and was long-listed for The Story Prize and The Frank O’Connor International Short Story 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.
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Connect with Marie-Helene Bertino:

Marie-Helene Bertino’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 4th:  Bibliotica
Tuesday, August 5th:  Too Fond
Wednesday, August 6th:  Must Read Faster
Thursday, August 7th:  My Bookshelf
Friday, August 8th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, August 11th:  Reading Reality
Tuesday, August 12th:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, August 13th:  From the TBR Pile
Thursday, August 14th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, August 15th:  From L.A. to LA
Monday, August 18th:  Caribousmom
Tuesday, August 19th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, August 20th:  Broken Teepee
Thursday, August 21st:  Guiltless Reading
Friday, August 22nd:  Walking With Nora
Monday, August 25th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, August 26th:  Literally Jen
Wednesday, August 27th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Thursday, August 28th:  BookNAround

1 comment:

heathertlc said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.