Reading – 2 AM at the Cat’s Pajamas

It is dark, dark seven P.M. on Christmas Eve Eve.

The city gathers its black-skirted taxis around the ankles of Rittenhouse Square. A vendor rolls his cart into the park. Pinwheels hem and sigh in flowerpots stuffed with foam. Every audience in every theater on Broad Street leans forward into the hyphen of silence between the overture and Act One. A couple necks in the backseat of a Honda parked at Thirteenth and Spruce.”

Marie-Helene Bertino has written a first novel that’s rough at parts, and sometimes the writing seems to be a bit unbalanced when screwball comedy collides with serious matters. My Philadelphia memories aren’t quite as gritty as she depicts, and I used to live a little north of the Fishtown neighborhood (my age of introduction and the location is perhaps the difference). But Cat’s Pajamas is a book that entertains, and doesn’t stay dark.

What if you acted unlovable, like Madeleine, yet were also an unstoppable 9 year old with a drive that many 20-somethings don’t have? And how many madcap things can happen in the City of Brotherly Love on Christmas Eve Eve?


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