2 A.M at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino | Rating: ★★★★★
When I think of this book, the first word that comes to mind is: delightful.
Because, to be clear, it is a delightful read with many quirks and darkened edges to the plot. With colorful characters, fun dialogue and interesting backstories I just knew I’d love it within the first few pages and it definitely didn’t let me down — even at the very end. It’s a fantastic and warm story tied together with a jazzy (heh-heh, okay dumb even for me) bow.
It’s a short read, too, so it’s the perfect fit for an easy night in this autumn or winter — pair it with a blanket and hot beverage and you’re good to go!
Our story is told by splitting the narration between an array of characters — all of which are just wonderful to read about. And the evens take place over the course of a night and come to collide during the final hours of a jazz club — The Cat’s Pajamas — before it gets shut down. Although the narration is split, it doesn’t get all mushed up like some stories do and is rather easy to follow.
This novel was one of the rare instances which I didn’t mind having more than a few points of view.
What really pleased me about the novel is how it was written. It stood out to me when compared with other debut novels this last year and I can’t stress that enough. There’s something very unique and enchantingly lovely about this story and it can’t be missed. And the voices that the author gives each character are simply incredible.
I think that my two favorite bits of the story were Madeleine who isn’t like most girls her age. She’s lost her mother before the evens of the book and sure has a mouth on her when it comes to language. At nine years old, Madeleine curses more than the average child and has a great knowledge of jazz music.
It’s easy to be sympathetic of her character given her circumstances at home as well as during her schooling. I felt she was treated rather unfairly during the events at the start of the book and rooted for her to be able to solve these plots before novels end. Fortunately, it seems she does have a happier ending when it comes to the “trouble” she gets into.
Point: she’s a cute kid who simply wants to spread her wings, live and be given a chance to sing. Luckily for her, she just may get to do that. And at Christmas time, too!
My second favorite bit would have to be the ending. I won’t spoil it, and many others will disagree with me and perhaps not see its point, but I will say I loved it. I thought the story did a great job at tying up certain plots and even though we only knew these characters for a single day it was exciting to see how some of them grew.