At eight years old, suddenly unable to find The Voice on the radio, J.R. turned in desperation to the bar on the corner, where he found a rousing chorus of new voices. Cops, bookies, soldiers, and stumblebums, all sorts of men gathered in the bar to tell their stories and forget their cares. The alphas along the bar, including J.R.'s uncle Charlie, a Humphrey Bogart look-alike; Colt, a Yogi Bear sound-alike and Joey D, a soft-hearted brawler, took J.R. to the beach, to ballgames, and ultimately into their circle. They taught J.R., tended him, and provided a kind of fatherhood-by-committee.
Torn between the stirring example of his mother and the lurid romance of the bar, J.R. tried to forge a self somewhere in the center. But when it was time for J.R. to leave home, the bar became an increasingly seductive sanctuary, a place to return and regroup during his picaresque journeys. Time and again, the bar offered shelter from failure, rejection, heartbreak, and eventually from reality.
In the grand tradition of landmark memoirs, The Tender Bar is suspenseful, wrenching, and achingly funny. A classic American story of self-invention and escape, of the fierce love between a single mother and an only son, it's also a moving portrait of one boy's struggle to become a man, and an unforgettable depiction of how men remain, at heart, lost boys.
©2005 J.R. Moehringer; (P)2005 Hyperion
"Funny, honest, and insightful." (Booklist)
"[Moehringer's] the best memoirist of his kind since Mary Karr wrote The Liars' Club." (The New York Times)
"In his gimlet-eyed memoir, The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer lovingly and affectingly toasts a boyhood spent on a barstool." (Vanity Fair)
"The Tender Bar will make you thirsty for that life: its camaraderie, its hilarity, its seductive, dangerous wisdom." (Richard Russo)
"The Tender Bar" is that most elusive item today, a wonderful tale lovingly told. For any guy who has been lost and found this story connects on levels seldom touched today. Alternately plaintive and hard-boiled the story never slows or lessens its grip on us. It is real writing by a real writer. JR as the narrator only makes the listening that much richer carrying the words lovingly on his tongue. This is a 'must have.'
My only complaint was that it was abridged. One has to wonder about what was omitted. I will probably read the unabridged book, having enjoyed this listen very much.
This is an incredible story of stuggle and perseverance; from a life of poverty, questionable family members and a bar room full of men to call friends, to incredible success. But it wasn't in spite of those hurdles that he succeeded, it seems that it bas because of them. He writes honestly and with emotion of his failures as well as his achievements. There are plenty of lessons you could take away from this book to be sure, but also, its just a really wonderful, sad, funny, entertaining story about a boy coming of age. Definitely I would recommend.
It was so real and true. I loved the characters.
It was as if he was actually telling me his story while I was driving to work each day.
I looked forward to hearing it on my 40 minute drive to work
I am looking forward to reading Sutton.
This book was just a joy to listen to. We listened while we were painting our house, and it was like listening to a friend tell us a story.
JR has clearly finally "gotten in". This is a beautiful piece that manages to show-case his tremendous skill at crafting a story (albeit true) while sounding like he is just speaking with you (probably helps that he is reading it). In league with "the kite runner", this memoir reaches out and touches your heart without leaving the feeling that you have been forced into an experience like a puppet! I was truly impressed by the author's ability to present very complex characters without conveying any animosity. I truly enjoyed this book!
I am very rigid about books I read for pleasure. I believe life is too short to reread a book. Until this. I read it three years ago and loved it. When I saw that the author read it himself, I had to hear him say his words aloud. It was even better than the print version. After finishing, I let it linger in my ears like a fine Merlot on the tongue, I sampled some other books, including Moehringer's Sutton for my next listen. Then I opened up the library and decided to listen again right away. Stunning writing, and his reading lets you peer even deeper. If I could give it 10 stars, I would.
Loved the storyline and little details that come to life. it shows how somebody that longed for a father figure found it in so many different and unlikely candidates. personal struggles and self doubts are revealed throughout this book that many of us can identify with.
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