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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, August 2014 - This quirky debut novel by Marie-Helene Bertino is just the right mix of despair and optimism. Set in downtown Philadelphia, the story unfolds the morning of Christmas Eve Eve and follows the interconnected lives of three charming but flawed characters over the next 24-hours. There’s Madeleine, a smart-mouthed and talented nine-year-old who recently lost her mother; Sarina, her newly divorced fifth grade teacher; and Lorca, the forlorn owner of the once legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas. The events of the day gradually weave the characters closer together until they finally intersect during one unforgettable late night rendezvous at the city’s #2 jazz club. 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas packs both heart and punches and is sure to delight readers and book clubs alike. —Regina, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

An 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.

©2014 Marie-Helene Bertino (P)2014 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas won me over heart and soul. With Madeleine Altimari, a nine year old aspiring jazz singer with a wonderful talent for cursing, Bertino has created one of the most winning and wonderful characters I've met in a long time. Read this book to see a debut author doing something really special, crafting a story where human kindness meets up with an inhospitable world and real magic happens in the aftermath." (Kevin Wilson, New York Times best-selling author of The Family Fang)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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An Enchanting Original

This quirky debut novel by Marie-Helene Bertino is just the right mix of despair and optimism. Set in downtown Philadelphia, the story unfolds the morning of Christmas Eve Eve and follows the interconnected lives of three charming but flawed characters over the next 24-hours. There’s Madeleine, a smart-mouthed and talented nine-year-old who recently lost her mother; Sarina, her newly divorced fifth grade teacher; and Lorca, the forlorn owner of the once legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas. The events of the day gradually weave the characters closer together until they finally intersect during one unforgettable late night rendezvous at the city’s #2 jazz club. 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas packs both heart and punches and is sure to delight readers and book clubs alike.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Give the Narrator Some Time

Where does 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

2 AM at The Cat's Pajamas is one of my favorite audiobooks so far.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas?

When Madeleine tells off the principal. I love that little girl. Kudos to the author for writing a child who is complex, lovable and hilarious. We can pretend that children are innocent little cherubs, but the majority of them are not.

What about Angela Goethals’s performance did you like?

In the beginning, I found Goethal's performance to be a little heavy handed-- she's very dramatic. However, as I got to know the characters, I began to enjoy her style and equate her voice with Serena's character. Goethal's style is particularly suited for the more poetic passages in the book, which I really enjoyed.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Lorca struggles with the spectrum of his emotions as he listens to his son perform.

Any additional comments?

I generally listen to audiobooks during my commute. The exceptional ones find me sitting in my car in the driveway, unable to turn them off. This one made it to the kitchen table, the garage, the bathroom, etc. I only wish it hadn't ended so fast.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting structure

Memorable characters, especially Madeline and Serena. Entertaining and well done. Reminds me of O. Henry stories of big city life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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not what I expectied

What would have made 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas better?

It was a very weird book not at all what I'd thought it'd be I didn't like it the story line was very confusing to me a few chapters just seemed to be thrown in for no reason I honestly still don't know what this was supposed to be about maybe if the author was a bit more straight forward with the story line

Would you ever listen to anything by Marie-Helene Bertino again?

probably not

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

it was okay the reader tried to do voices for all the people in the book

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

not really the physical book has a beautiful cover though

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Love love love this book!

This is my new favorite book. I loved the characters, the setting, the telling, did I mention the characters?! This story made me laugh and cheer out loud. Folks around you on the train or in the street will wonder. Tell them! This book should be shared.

  • Overall
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  • Story
  • cbhobbs
  • Mechanicsville, VA, United States
  • 08-29-14

Kids and cussing are not my cup of tea-unnecessary

What disappointed you about 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas?

Personally, I would not use words that I would not want my kids to use.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Nothing by this author.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She was fine.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment.

Any additional comments?

I bought the book because of a personal musical connection. Life is hard enough. I did not enjoy being weighed down by vulgarity from a child's lips.

Too much variety in writing styles......I found that distracting too, distracting too, distracting too. It was as though the author was trying to prove a point.

0 of 14 people found this review helpful