JR Moehringer grew up listening for a voice, the voice of his missing father, a disc jockey who disappeared before JR spoke his first words. As a boy, JR would press his ear to a battered clock radio, straining to hear in that resonant voice the secrets of identity and masculinity. When the voice disappeared, JR found new voices in the bar on the corner. A grand old New York saloon, the bar was a sanctuary for all sorts of men-cops and poets, actors and lawyers, gamblers and stumblebums. The flamboyant characters along the ...
JR Moehringer grew up listening for a voice, the voice of his missing father, a disc jockey who disappeared before JR spoke his first words. As a boy, JR would press his ear to a battered clock radio, straining to hear in that resonant voice the secrets of identity and masculinity. When the voice disappeared, JR found new voices in the bar on the corner. A grand old New York saloon, the bar was a sanctuary for all sorts of men-cops and poets, actors and lawyers, gamblers and stumblebums. The flamboyant characters along the bar taught JR, tended him, and provided a kind of fatherhood by committee. The bar became a way station-from JR's entrance to Yale, where he floundered as a scholarship student; to Lord & Taylor, where he spent a humbling stint peddling housewares; to the "New York Times", where he became a faulty cog in a vast machine. The bar offered shelter from failure, from rejection, and eventually from reality, until at last the bar turned JR away. An evocative portrait of one boy's struggle to become a man, "The Tender Bar" is also a touching depiction of how some men remain lost boys.
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It's easy to understand Andre Agassi's being so appreciative of help from JR. Anyone's life story is filled with ups and downs and sideways...what's so nice is to be drawn into that ebb and flow with such clarity and appreciation. Could not put it down.
Nov 1, 2007
Love, acceptance and guidance at The Tender BAR.
One hears a lot of things about people who frequent a bar, but this was not just a bar but the "tender bar" where relatives dispensed good advice, love, and acceptance mixed in with bountiful amounts of alcohol for good measure. If you can overlook the continuous drunken nature of the participants ,which might be hard if you have a family history of alcoholism, you will love the trail J. R. Moehringer takes you on as he grows to be an inquisitive teenager and an apprehensive Ivy Leaguer to a credible journalist. The ride isn't easy. There are tears and disappointments amidst the happy times. Tender but tough. That was the type of bar that nurtured . Hats off to Mr. Moehringer whose memories will always soften a fall but grace a reward.
Sep 13, 2007
Great writer, wonderfully drawn characters, couldn't wait to get back to reading it each night. What I loved most is that it doesn't rely on extreme and shocking events to carry it. No one gets raped, molested or thrown in a Turkish prison. It's an honest, realistic account of growing up searching for male role models and one's own identity. Refreshing in the wake of the embellishment scandals of 'A Million Little Pieces' and "Running With Scissors'. Our book club rated it a 3.75 out of 5 (I gave it a 4.5).
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