2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas (Paperback)

By Marie-Helene Bertino

Broadway Books, 9780804140256, 288pp.

Publication Date: October 27, 2015



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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Marie Helene-Bertino is the author of Safe as Houses, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize. An Emerging Writer Fellow at New York's Center for Fiction, she has spent six years as an editor and writing instructor at One Story. A Philadelphia native, she currently lives in Brooklyn.

Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal certain aspects of the story in this novel. If you have not finished reading 2 A. M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this guide. As Madeleine imagines herself onstage, how does she picture the ideal woman? Who did you pretend to be when you were her age?generic viagra price canada
  2. The author lets us see Madeleine’s teacher both as Sarina and as Miss Greene. How do Madeleine’s impressions compare to the reality of Miss Greene’s personal life? How does Sarina manage to carry a torch for Ben after so many years? What does her story tell us about “grown-up” love?generic viagra price canada
  3. Discuss the recipe box that Madeleine’s mother created. Which tips are your favorites? What are your own rules for living?generic viagra price canada
  4. As you read about Clare and Madeleine’s life at Saint Anthony of the Immaculate Heart, did it bring back any memories of you as a fifth grader? What makes Madeleine vulnerable to rejection by the other kids? Why is it hard for everyone to understand what she’s going through?generic viagra price canada
  5. How would you react to a student like Madeleine if you were Principal Randles?generic viagra price canada
  6. What inspiration does Jack Lorca find in his son, Alex? How is he guided by the other two names tattooed on his arm: Francis and Melissa?generic viagra price canada
  7. As the author paid tribute to her hometown in 2 a.m. at The Cat’s Pajamas, what did you discover about Philadelphia? What makes it the ideal setting for Madeleine’s magical moment?generic viagra price canada
  8. “4:00 P.M.” ends with the observation on page 83 that “we carry our ancestors in our names and sometimes we carry our ancestors through the sliding doors of emergency rooms and either way they are heavy, either way we can’t escape.” How do family legacies affect the characters in the novel? How do Lorca and Madeleine cope with tragedy and loss? What is it like for them to live in the shadow of someone else’s dreams?generic viagra price canada
  9. Beginning on page 144, “11:00 P.M.” gives us a poignant glimpse into Madeleine’s early years with her parents, Mark and Corrine. How do these images enhance your understanding of Madeleine’s world? How did your feelings about Mark shift throughout the novel?generic viagra price canada
  10. Revisit the history of The Cat’s Pajamas nightclub on pages 163–164 and discuss the club itself as a character. What gives life and personality to The Cat’s Pajamas? What does the club mean to the Lorca family and to music lovers? How does the club cope with aging? Are there similar one-of-a-kind gems in your community?generic viagra price canada
  11. As Madeleine takes the stage with Alex, what is at stake for each of them, and for the Cubanistas, beyond the world of The Cat’s Pajamas?generic viagra price canada