An enchanting novel about one day in the lives of three unforgettable characters as they search for love, music, and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia.
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.
Together, Madeleine, Sarina, and Lorca 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.
Madeleine Altimari is in the fifth grade and wants to be a jazz singer. Despite her mother's recent death and her father's descent into an opaque and private mourning, she is trying to keep her fingers snapping and her brassy voice at the ready. Sarina Greene is Madeleine's teacher and, after a recent divorce and a return to her hometown of Philadelphia, she is trying very hard to keep the faith that something worthwhile will come of it all. These two make for companionable allies, and it's easy to share in the affection they feel for one another. Tougher to accept or at least keep track of is the mosaic of many, many other characters to whom Sarina and Madeleine find themselves linked. Although it's to Bertino's (Safe as Houses) credit that she has invented, sketched, connected, and geographically located such an elaborate cast, and in the process established what does genuinely feel like an old neighborhood at Christmastime, remembering who's who is often a challenge. While the jazzy intentions are noble, the toe-tapping, bebopping tone Bertino aims for feels forced a melody we can see Madeleine shimmying along to, but not ever quite hear for ourselves.
This book brought to life not only the title location, but the City of Brotherly Love itself as well as its inhabitants. The characters are flesh and blood brought to life by Bertino's deft storytelling. You feel for their loneliness and grasp with them at the hope of emotional fulfillment. There is an underlying tension throughout that you can't wait to have aleviated as the chapter strikes 2 A.M.
2am at The Cat’s Pajamas
Unfortunately I could not maintain my attention while reading this. I guess I’m a more linear thinker and reader. I like things to appear joined together and I had a hard time remembering the story line. It seemed very disjointed. I’m sure there are many who live this style but I had a hard time keeping up and interested. I also didn’t understand the ending. However, I admire all writers and am greatly impressed by how much of themselves they poor into this. I hope I’m not being disrespectful but this book did not keep me interested.