The Tender Bar

A Memoir

Moehringer, J. R.

Book - 2005
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Tender Bar
The New York Times bestseller and one of the 100 Most Notable Books of 2005. In the tradition of This Boy's Life and The Liar's Club , a raucous, poignant, luminously written memoir about a boy striving to become a man, and his romance with a bar. J.R. Moehringer grew up captivated by a voice. It was the voice of his father, a New York City disc jockey who vanished before J.R. spoke his first word. Sitting on the stoop, pressing an ear to the radio, J.R. would strain to hear in that plummy baritone the secrets of masculinity and identity. Though J.R.'s mother was his world, his rock, he craved something more, something faintly and hauntingly audible only in The Voice. 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. 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 softhearted 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 fathering-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.

Publisher: New York : Hyperion, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780786888764
Branch Call Number: B M8384


From Library Staff

A raucous, poignant, luminously
written memoir about a boy striving
to become a man, and his romance with a bar.

From the critics

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Apr 14, 2014

"A vivid memoir of growing up and coming of age with a single mother describes how the author received valuable life lessons and friendship at the neighbourhood bar, an old-time New York saloon populated by a colourful assortment of characters who provided him with a kind of fatherhood by committee." Biography and Memoir April 2014 newsletter

Apr 29, 2013
  • smichal rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Could not get into it. I don't smoke, drink or gamble so it is hard for me to understand the boy's admiration for the people in this pub, even if he was looking for a father figure. Don't understand his fascination with his name either. At some point he should have realized that the dad is a write-off and just moved on.

Feb 23, 2013
  • Clamato rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book and it's still one of my favourite memoirs. Thoroughly recommend it. Engaging, funny and well written. It stays with you.

Dec 11, 2012
  • trix29 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This may be the best Memoir I have ever read. It takes more than an interesting life, a cast of characters and some good stories to write a good memoir. You have to be able to write too. JR Moehringer can write. One third of the way through the book, I forgot it was a memoir and was certain it was a novel. Then at the three quarter point I realized (again) that the narrator and the writer had the same name and I was indeed reading a memoir.

So good, so beautifully written, I did not want it to end.

I'd recommend to any adult or older teen.

Dec 16, 2010
  • charlie2009 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Book Club - 2008


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