Saturday, October 31, 2015

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

Photo Credit - Random House
**May Contain Spoilers**

The witty "jerk" named Madeleine Altimari is a rebellious nine year old who is aspiring to be a jazz singer like her mother.  While still mourning the recent death of her mother, she encounters a strange cast of mishaps and characters on her way to let the world hear her singing. The little smart-mouth girl has to fend for herself in the world of unfairness and cockroaches. She is surrounded by mean classmates, rejection at school, taking care of her grief-stricken father all the while trying to find her spot in the world.

Lorca is the owner of The Cat's Pajama who recently hit a string of bad luck and needs $30,000 to save his jazz club. Sarina Greene is Madeleine's teacher who is also going through a divorce and recently started to rekindle a friendship with a high school sweetheart, Ben. Together with Madeleine, they string together a tale of events that leads them all to The Cat's Pajama at 2 A.M.

The story reads like a prose from a poem. It is written in a span of roughly 24 hours, three characters search for love, music, hope, being lost, a sense of belonging and a connection. The book is a quick read as it is separate in time increments and it is told through  point of views of each of the "main characters". Majority of the time, the book lapses time normally but on page 127-128, time went backwards which was a bit weird and made no sense. The story seems a bit weird and hard to imagine the story ever happening and the characters are not very relatable, at times. The story is filled with profanity and violence while making a nine year smoke cigs and aggressive father hard to love and root for. The story is filled with lapses and the end makes very little sense at all. The entire book Madeleine struggles to have her voice heard but when she does, she causes "incidents"? How this ties into the flashback with her mother and father and the ending is very ambiguous at best.  The story reminds me a bit of Matilda but sadly doesn't compare to the greatness of Roald Dahl's masterpiece. Although, the title is quite cute.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of the book for my honest opinion**

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