Read The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer Online


In the grand tradition of landmark memoirs - 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.J.R. Moehringer grew up captivated by a voice. It was the voice of his father,In the grand tradition of landmark memoirs - 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.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. Cops and poets, bookies and soldiers, movie stars 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 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 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—from his grandfather's tumbledown house to the hallowed towers and spires of Yale; from his absurd stint selling housewares at Lord & Taylor to his dream job at the New York Times, which became a nightmare when he found himself a faulty cog in a vast machine. 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....

Title : The Tender Bar
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780786888764
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 432 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Tender Bar Reviews

  • Michele
    2018-10-08 23:21

    What's This Book About?From The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer:"I hate when people ask what a book is about. People who read for plot, people who suck out the story like the cream filling in an Oreo, should stick to comic strips and soap operas. . . . Every book worth a damn is about emotions and love and death and pain. It's about words. It's about a man dealing with life. Okay?"Okay! Pulling this excerpt from page 335 of this 416 page book, I feel, allows me to use the author's own words to describe this excellent and engrossing reading experience. From page one, I was pulled into the world of J. R. Moeringer and found myself reading his words late into the night because I just didn't want to put it down. It's a compelling, emotional memoir, filled with lots of individual stories, all contributing to the plot that is the author's life. I learned to call him JR--never "Junior," and, along with all of his quirky cast of characters centered primarily around a Manhasset, Long Island bar called "Publicans," experience his life as a boy, his foray into manhood, and the secrets he uncovers regarding the strength of one very good woman, his mother. The book is dedicated to her.It's one of the best written memoirs I've ever read, and a highly entertaining journey. I give The Tender Bar my highest recommendation.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2018-09-23 22:25

    Onvan : The Tender Bar - Nevisande : J.R. Moehringer - ISBN : 786888768 - ISBN13 : 9780786888764 - Dar 432 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2005

  • Debbie Petersen
    2018-09-27 22:28

    Started out fairly well and held my interest until he went to Yale. From that point on, I would read a few sentences from each paragraph and eventually skip pages to just finish the book. Interestingly, the experience is similar to a night that starts pleasantly with a charming storyteller and a few drinks; at first it is enjoyable and the story is interesting, but as the storyteller continues drinking and becomes more and more verbose and self-absorbed, going on and on about people you do not know who are fascinating only to storyteller and no one else, your eyes start to glaze over and your mind wanders. Eventually you attempt a graceful exit; unfortunately storyteller, who due to alcohol consumption sees himself as Socrates, continues his angst-ridden rambling, now peppering his story with platitudes, lessons learned and "deep thoughts" seemingly penned by Jack Handey. Surprisingly, storylines that should have been delved into deeply are skipped over, as in a family fight that leaves him no longer speaking to his close friend and cousin McGraw; the disappearance of Uncle Charlie (where is he? Dead? Wandering the streets as a homeless person? Abducted by aliens?) The sudden decision to quit drinking (AA? Rehab? No revelations on how he found himself lying in the gutter in a puddle of vomit and urine, and told himself it was time to quit?) The deaths of Grandma and Grandpa in the same year, which precipitated the family fight over the estate--they died of ?This book needs a good editor and a rewrite.

  • Richard Sutton
    2018-09-23 01:30

    Here's the thing. I'm a writer. I'm not a proofreader or an editor. When I read, I read for the pleasure of a good story with memorable, honest (not cardboard) characters. I'm not hard on other writers' work, unless they really disappoint me. An occasional repeat of an expression, a dropped comma, a misused semicolon -- none of these bother me unless they stop the read cold, and only then, if I can't pick it up again. It happens. I'm not a complete masochist, but I have noticed that most of the books in that pile come from big publishing houses and "blockbuster" writers with hugely successful series. I have only once read an Indie Novel that I couldn't finish. Indie Authors create and craft their stories outside of the editorial and sales pressures that mold much of what fills the Best Holiday Books lists. For me, a spark of originality and a pleasing way with words goes a long way.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-09-24 22:24

    I really loved The Tender Bar! Any book that can sweep you into a story and its beautifully rendered characters (all the more beautiful, poignant, and powerful because they are real) is worthy of recognition, and I found this memoir to be fascinating and enormously moving. It was also interesting from its snapshot of a slice of American and local history: Manhasset, Long Island, in the 70s and 80s and into the early 21st century. The author, being raised by his mother in her father's dysfunctional home, lived right down the street from the Publicans bar where his uncle worked and where the bar patrons became the author's family. Telling the story cannot do it justice. Moehringer's (and his mother's) run of bad luck and the consequences of repeated poor judgment could be too dark and depressing if it weren't for his uncanny sense of humor, powers of observation, and willingness to expose himself, warts and all, to the reader. Yes, there were times you wanted to kick him in the seat of the pants, but it appears he finally found his own footing.My only quibble is that after a wonderfully rich telling of his childhood and early adulthood, there is a conspicuous ten-year gap as the story jumps abruptly from his first job as a journalist and what appears to be a downward slide towards alcoholism to the end of the book where he has clearly stopped drinking, has become a recognized journalist, and finally appears to have gained a healthy perspective on his past.The scenes in the bar and the many conversations, over many years, between Moehringer and the bar's zany, wonderful patrons were filled with laugh-out-loud hilarity, philosophical depth, fascinating bondings and break-ups, and unspoken rules and behaviors that engendered fierce loyalty and unexpected tenderness. The intersection of Moehringer's personal story with the events of 9-11 and its impact on the characters and the community were especially moving.

  • Diana
    2018-09-21 01:14

    Just read for book club. Its an easy read. I guess I was interested in his life and the history on Long Island makes it easy to identify with. I just feel like I have been down this road before with a memoir. Dysfunctional family, overcoming it all and going to Yale, etc..etc...and does he whine about it. He never stops! He continues to show the people in his life addicted to alcohol, drugs, and gambling in a postive light - even when sometimes the outcome of such a life is horrible- he still holds them up on some kind of pedestal.I thought often while reading it - that he should have read more Charles Bukowski for a dose of what bar flies are really like - and maybe hung around some men his own age a bit more often instead of a bunch of old losers. Jeez - JR - go out in city once in awhile while you were working there instead of rushing back to a hole in the wall every night - and maybe you wont be so depressed...

  • Therese
    2018-10-14 03:12

    Jeesh. I picked this up for my husband's birthday and decided to read it myself. I was so excited. I got it from a local book store where one of the book clerks wrote an amazing review. I thought it was going to be about bar culture and the magical and redemptive qualities that can be found in your local bar/pub. I was wrong. It's mostly a memoir of Moehinger's boyhood and college days at Yale. The lack of male role models is a constant and boring theme that runs throughout the book. The love of his he wants to care for her....yadda yadda. I found myself not caring after a while. Which is a shame, really, because you get the feeling that Moehinger is a good guy with an interesting story to tell. But I could not help but feel, when reading this, that I was watching one, long, maybe more seedy epidsode of The Wonder Years. NYTimes notable book and bestseller for those of you who care.

  • Steve Piacente
    2018-10-14 02:27

    Oh, the damage an absent father can do. No-show, no-care dads practice a different brand of abuse than fathers who use their fists, but the distinction is lost on the little boy waiting curbside for a dad who isn’t coming. Given a choice, the boy might even opt for corporal punishment over icy indifference.J.R. Moehringer captures the lives of many such boys in his poignant memoir, “The Tender Bar.” Moehringer’s radio personality dad was MIA so often, he came to think of his dad as “The Voice,” and kept a radio close in case his father happened to be on the air. Young Moehringer’s longing for a stronger connection came coupled with enormous, un-childlike stress to ease the burden on his hard-working mom. The selfishness and irresponsibility required to pretend a son or daughter doesn’t exist must be unimaginable to most parents. Indeed, the most fearsome thought any parent can conjure is losing a child, and having to live on knowing that the joyous march toward all of life’s markers –graduations, marriages, grandchildren and the rest – has abruptly ended. Yet Moehringer’s father chose to abandon his wife and son, failing to provide moral or financial support. A boy needs a dad or something close. So Moehringer wandered into the nearby neighborhood bar – the “Tender Bar” - and found his surrogates, a wonderful collection of colorful, irreverent, hard-drinking, fast-talking philosophers who took him to the beach and taught him much of what he needed to learn.An interesting sidebar is that when tennis star Andre Agassi read this book, he knew Moehringer was the one to write his own life story. Read “Open,” and you’ll see that Agassi, too, had a dad who was never up for father of the year.Tender Bar is not a depressing read. Parts are sad, parts are laugh-aloud funny. Think of it as a survival story, and an inspiring one at that. Moehringer writes as you would imagine him talking to you in his Long Island saloon over a few beers. Like Agassi, I’m giving him all five stars.

  • Kate
    2018-10-02 02:26

    Two friends of mine claimed this was their favorite book, which is probably the only reason why I made myself finish this long, whining memoir. JR Moehringer starts off with a nice premise: He wants to write about the Long Island bar he grew up in, and the wild cast of characters at the bar who filled in for his absent, dead-beat dad. Moehringer's got some funny stories, and he's pretty good at capturing the moods of the bar and describing the people in his life. But at the end of the book, all I could think was, "Well, so what?" There was no climax, no plot twist, and Moehringer whined too much about insignificant things to make me ever care what happened to him.It was also troubling to me that he idolized the men at the bar -- a bunch of loud drunks with shady pasts and unclear futures -- while looking with disdain on everyone else. For example, his hardworking mother sacrificed everything for him, but he only pitied her and ignored her. Yet the men had earned his true respect and reverence. For what? Being men? Drinking and gambling and laughing all day? That was very unclear to me. It seemed that their influence did more harm than good on Moehringer, since it was only once he moved clear across the country and quit drinking that he could actually do something positive with his life. I think the worst part of this book is that I just didn't believe him. On nearly every page there was something that gave me pause, some small detail that just didn't seem right, some ridiculous hyperbole. Moehringer originally began this book as a novel instead of a memoir. Perhaps he should have stuck with his first idea.

  • Carol
    2018-09-29 06:07

    This is an incredibly honest book by an incredibly good story teller. JR grew up with an absent father and ended up with many "fathers", and one enormously strong and dedicated mother. I, too, grew up with an absent father and an enormously strong and dedicated mother so I could relate to much of his emotional upheaval at times. My heart was breaking when his father didn't show up after telling him he would be there to take him to a baseball game. During my reading of this book, I also saw a half-hour interview with him on the internet and I enjoyed that as much as the book. He was articulate, charming, forthright, well-spoken, and his voice was as pleasant as he describes his father's. My one wish for this book would have been PICTURES!! I even scoured the web looking for pictures of his Publican "fathers" (Uncle Charlie, Bob the Cop, Joey D, Cager, Smelly, FmeBabe, Colt, Bobo, Steve, Fast Eddy, General Grant), McGraw, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Ruth and especially Dorothy, his mother. He dedicated his book to his mother - wouldn't it have been great to see that wonderful woman's picture?! This is a book I won't soon forget! I read this review that I found so insightful, from someone called "Pomperation" on June 11, 2008:"The less than 5 star reviewers are not understanding this story. JR's memoir is not about a bar, not about avoiding a life of achoholism, not about whining over misfortune, and not about overcomming childhood challenges. The real story here is sharing boldly and courageously what it is like to grow up fatherless. JR speaks for all of us men who grew up without fathers and his medium is great storytelling. While "growing up" we really were always searching for the right templates for manhood. We would grab ahold of anyone who paid attention! That could be good and that could be bad, but fortunatly for our author, the men at the bar were ultimately a good influence, not all of them as career path role models, but certainly as "man models" and that is what was needed. It is impossible (no criticism) for individuals who grew up with a father to empathize. This is not whining, it is just plain being honest and sharing what it is like. JR's memoir resonates with all of us "fatherless boys" and he must be reviewed from that perspective. For those of you who would like to know what goes through our minds and our orientation to the world, this is great primer/story. BRAVO JR."

  • Rana
    2018-10-07 04:07

    As many stars as there are drops of beer in a pint glass. Some of the most beautiful writing ever.

  • Skip
    2018-09-22 06:23

    Publicans, the bar where the author found his mojo, has just been rechristened in Manhasset. I guess it's pretty telling that I liked a 5 star and a 1 star review, because both made valid points about the book. On the positive side, Moehringer writes well (for a Yalie anyway), but his life is a mess, with a deadbeat, absentee father, and a mother barely able to keep them afloat, shuttling between living with her parents or trying to make it in their own place. The other highlight is the zany characters at home (Uncle Charlie, his cousin), the bar, and his college girlfriend, Sidney. In fairness, it all gets tiring, repetitive and predictable.

  • Cărți și călătorii
    2018-10-15 22:29

    The Tender Bar / Dulcele bar a lui Moehringer era una dintre cărțile acelea pe care îmi doream mereu să le citesc, dar o amânam pentru un moment tihnit, în care să pot s-o savurez așa cum credeam eu că se cuvenea. O carte pe care toată lumea o lăuda și mă îndemna să o caut. Un pom lăudat la care m-am dus cu coșul plin de speranțe, mai ales după ce citisem autobiografia lui Andre Agassi, Open, o mare revelație pentru mine și una dintre cărțile de 5 stele de anul trecut, la care Moehringer contribuise (substanțial, cred).Mi-am făcut, în sfârșit, timp pentru ea în vacanța dintre ani, și am am citit-o cu plăcere, aproape fără pauze, devorând povestea copilăriei, adolescenței și tinereții autorului, cu inerentele probleme familiale, sentimentale și profesionale, toate având în centrul lor, ca etern punct de sprijin și școală a vieții, BARUL. M-am amuzat de limbajul unchiului Charlie, adoptat de copilul J.R., m-am înduioșat la poveștile familiei și obișnuiților barului, m-am enervat pe tânărul J.R. că prea își irosea timpul și talentul, și, în toate căutările lui, i-am admirat talentul de scriitor.Totuși, tocmai din cauza așteptărilor despre care vă spuneam la început, am avut tot timpul senzația că trebuie să fie ceva mai mult de atât, ceva care să mă impresioneze până la lacrimi, să mă facă să exclam Wow!, să rând în hohote, să reiau fragmente doar pentru frumusețea lor. A fost nevoie să treacă vreo două luni ca lucrurile să se mai așeze, să se sedimenteze și să-mi dau seama că atmosfera și personajele încă îmi sunt proaspete în minte, că încă îmi place să recitesc anumite pasaje, că în paginile astea e nu numai o poveste de viață, cu bune și cu rele, ci talent autentic de povestitor și o experiență de lectură de neratat. Acum pot să spun cu convingere că The Tender Bar / Dulcele bar e o carte de memorii pe care mă bucur că am citit-o și pe care o recomand sincer.Citate preferate aici:

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2018-10-19 03:33

    John Joseph Moehringer (born 1964) grew up in Manhasset, New York. He is a graduate of Yale and used to work at New York Times and won the Pulitzer Award for Feature Writing in 2000. This memoir, The Tender Bar is the recollection of his childhood up to his early adulthood. Published in 2005, when Andre Agassi read this book, he asked Moehringer to collaborate with him the writing of his own memoir, Open published last year, 2009. You must be seeing that book prominently displayed in your bookstore tours nowadays.J. R. Moehringer has been raised almost singlehandedly by his mother. His father is a radio host that is called "The Voice." When he meets his father at the age of 11, he cannot believe that he is not just a voice but a normal human being. Her mother tries hard to support the two of them and at some point has to live in Arizona to have 2 jobs and leave J.R. in her father's dilapidated house in Long Island. In Manhasset, which I reckon is in that island (excuse me but I am not an American), there is a pub formerly known as Dickens and is now known as Publicans. That pub, frequented by men who of course like to drink beer, talk, fight, etc., is where the young J.R. gets to bond with men who provided him the father figure as his father is just a voice in the radio.The book is an easy read. It started very interesting I thought I would give it a 5-star. However, after the he graduated from Yale, the narration practically became uninteresting (or maybe I could not relate to men who frequent pubs as I am not fond of drinking). Maybe Moehringer knew it as he wrote a long Epilogue telling the story of what was the impact of the Sept 11 attack to him, his mother (to whom the book is dedicated) and people in Manhasset. The Epilogue is too long so it gives me an impression of just an added dish (not a dessert) to make the book more palatable.There was this one funny part that made me laugh out loud. J.R. and his mother are so poor the mother has to buy furnitures at installment basis. One day she shouts to J.R. who is lying on the sofa "Take care of our Louis XIV furniture. If we don't pay on the 14th, Louis will come here and get them back." Of course, Louis XIV was the king of France and the husband of Marie Antoinette.My favorite parts are those related to the books that shaped his interest in literature. As a young boy with no regular playmates, he finds comfort in Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. His first job is in a bookstore being manned by two Yale graduates who do not do anything but read and read since the bookstore has not too many customers. The two teach J.R. so many things from books (his first there was John Cheever's The Stories of John Cheever), music, dressing up, etc. and support the idea of fulfilling J.R.'s dream of studying at Yale. I like that part as it shows that there are people - parents and others - that influence young minds and help shape them to who they become in the future.My suggestion to future readers. Read up to his life at Yale and skim the pages and go straight to the Epilogue.

  • angela
    2018-09-21 02:06

    I really enjoyed this book. I found myself laughing out loud while reading it. The book is basically about his coming of age and most of it takes place at a local pub on Long Island where his uncle was a bartender. I really like his style and how the chapters are like short stories, yet they follow a timeline. I really got to like the author; he reminds me of a straight version of Sedaris or Borroughs. The missing star is mainly a pet peeve I have about the epilogue, which I recommend you skip. This was recommended to me as well, but curiosity got the better of me. The epilogue is about 5 pages of a heartfelt- yet irrelevant- personal experience regarding 9/11. The rest of the book took place in the 80s. I appreciate that in a book about his life, an author may pick and choose what is important to highlight, but I disagree with the choice to use this particular blurb in his epilogue. For me, its inclusion felt very trite.

  • Eibi82
    2018-10-02 02:17

    Empecé con muchas ganas, ya en las primeras páginas prometía, peeero según iba leyendo me desinflaba. Puede que no haya sido el mejor momento para esta lectura o que llevaba muchas expectativas y no ha sido lo que esperaba... el caso es que, sí, está bien escrito, te engancha al revival que hace el autor de su vida y entretiene, pero sin más. A pesar de que podría sacar varias lecturas de fondo, sobre todo referente a la familia (su madre, su tía, su abuela, sus primas...) no ha conseguido calarme, de hecho he leído un poco en diagonal porque todo me parecía igual.¿Lo positivo de esta lectura y con lo que me quedo? Las referencias a grandes clásicos de la Literatura y a la música, otra cosa no, pero me he preparado una Banda Sonora brutal, gracias a este señor.

  • Abby
    2018-10-18 03:20

    While reading, I wrote this:Working on it. Mom's book club. Came in a box with Valentine's Day goodies, including:- A heart-shaped potholder- Cups with hearts on them- Candy hearts- A heart-shaped PEZ dispenser- Pink footie socks- 3 or maybe 4 V-Day cards, they keep turning up in odd places, like wedged intoThe Tender Bar.- Pink rubber duckies with hearts on them- My camera battery chargerA good story. A bicentennial sofa. A little deliberate, but I'm still going.After reading, I write this:It got old fast.Rich girls, broken hearts, alcoholism, SNOOZE. My Mom's hairdresser didn't even like it.

  • Irene
    2018-09-20 04:31

    La evolución de un niño y su paso de la infancia a la edad adulta. Las relaciones familiares en especial con su madre, su referente. En todo ello está el bar, como un Lugar ritual donde el protagonista va desvelando su vida.Aunque me ha gustado, la trama me ha parecido un poco irregular, no ha conseguido engancharme del todo,y a ratos se me ha hecho largo. Sin embargo la prosa Es muy buena y la historia estar real y cotidiana como la vida misma.

  • J.K. Grice
    2018-09-21 00:34

    THE TENDER BAR is one of the first memoirs I read after jumping back on the reading band wagon in 2000. I loved this book and Moehringer's writing. Still have the hardcover on my shelf.

  • Becky
    2018-09-30 02:15

    i found this to be a memoir with a lot of heart but little literary value. what moehringer does very well is create a vivid atmosphere, using dialogue in particular to paint a picture that you can easily imagine as if you were in the room with him. i read in a separate review that the most interesting thing about the author is the people he knows - and it's true, the characters in this book are very colorful and tend to overshadow moehringer's self-absorbed drama. another reason to enjoy the book was the pure feel-good-ness of the story: the author faces obstacles (daddy issues, unrequited love, alcoholism, bad life choices in general), he overcomes them, and you can't help but find yourself cheering for him. you also wish you could be a part of the in-crowd at the bar of the book's title, the place the author returns to at the end of what seems like every day of his young life.however, all memoirs are always pretty hit-or-miss with me because of the structural problems they inevitably pose. if you want to write a story about your life, you need to sift through all the infinite events that you could possibly include in order to come up with a narrative that is thematically coherent. moehringer is only moderately successful at this. i was especially disappointed that he gave such short shrift to his struggles with alcoholism later in life and how he ultimately sobered up. much more time is wasted on cliched descriptions of his first relationship, which we know is obviously going to fall apart. my last criticism has to do with writing style. i'm not entirely sure how moehringer manages to simultaneously sound like he's trying too hard and yet also like his target audience is the dumbed-down drunkards at his cherished last note: as someone who went to harvard, i'd like to point out that moehringer's repeated descriptions of yale as "the best school in the country" are just factually incorrect. :)

  • Zahwil
    2018-09-22 06:11

    I found this book by reading Andre Aggasi's memoir, "Open", in which he describes how taken he was by "The Tender Bar" and how this led to his collaboration with J.R. Moehringer. I was equally engrossed in the book and could hardly put it down over the course of a week or so during which I read the entire thing (which, for me, is 2x-3x my normal turnover rate for a book of comparable length). The book is a wonderful memoir of a tough childhood (J.R. Moehringer grew up without a father in his life) of a boy with some very obvious intellectual gifts. Despite these gifts, the story is really one of a boy trying to find his identity and discover what it means to be a man. The chapters in which Moehringer describes his first romances, first with a girl named Lana and then with his real heartbreak, Sydney, are some of the best writing on teenage lust and falling in love that I have encountered. Moehringer beautifully captures the feeling of falling in love with a beautiful girl, and then the devastating heartache when the romance comes to an end. The memoir is part comedy, as Moehringer has an exceptional sense of humor, and part tragedy, as we are taken through Moehringer's struggles, disappointments and let downs that we can all relate to. We also see, through Moehringer's friends at Publican's, how sad life can be for those who have given up on it. Moehringer also describes with exceptional clarity his love of books, and the education that he got from a couple of bookstore misanthropes, Bill and Bud, followed by his eventual break by getting acceptance into Yale University. Having read "Open", and now "The Tender Bar", I am looking forward to reading another Moehringer book should he choose to write one.

  • Patricia
    2018-10-13 01:16

    This book was required reading for a memoir class that I audited last year. I must confess, I’m not a fan of memoirs that are soaked in booz, but I did my usual quick read through to get the story and found that, though appalled at times, I did enjoy the story and cared very much for J R and his mother. The Tender Bar title is a play on words. Growing up in the bar, J R was not coddled, but he was tended to or watched out for by a series of regular bar customers and bar tenders. I think of the following passage every time I witness men acting badly."Why do those men act so silly?" I asked my mother. "They're just-happy." "About what?" She looked at the men, thinking. "Beer, sweetheart. They're happy about beer." The major themes are loneliness, abandonment, searching for father, coming of age, and words, words, words. Grandpa can’t speak, Uncle Charley never shuts up, and the conversation never ends at Publicans. The Book of Words holds a sacred spot in Publicans and is the source to settle all arguments about word use. Images of the men taking JR and his cousin to the beach will stick in my mind forever.I loved the boy and this book and am so glad that JR has a new book, Sutton, out. I’ve been looking for something from him for a while.Update. The No Rules Book Club of Bradford PA discussed this book on March 23, 2013. It was a lively discussion and all are set on reading Sutton soon.

  • Skostal
    2018-10-19 05:25

    I initially fell in love with this memoir, and for 150 pages could not put it down. This is when Moehringer describes his childhood in a dysfunctional broken-down home in Long Island and his search on the radio air waves for his missing father's voice. He writes hauntingly and convincingly of his childhood anxieties, much of which center on protecting his mother, and his drive to take care of her. He describes his early discovery of the neighborhood bar, where his Uncle Charlie worked, and found it supplied the role models (of a sort) and the warmth and comraderie that his home life lacked. Unfortunately, there was also a tremendous amount of alcohol, and it took Moehringer far too long to find how addicted he was to the bar. It was like the security blanket his mother quietly and secretly snipped into a swatch, only Meohringer has no way to wean himself from the bar. He writes about his time at Yale tediously. He was ill-prepared, and nearly flunked out, but doesn't seem to have found himself, or truly grown there. Too much of a focus on puppy love to realize he is coming perilously close to screwing up his best chance at a different life. He then flunks out of the New York Times' erstwhile training program, and stays in his dead-end job as a copy boy far too long. No word how he kicked alcohol, or how he became a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. He simply arrives at the end of the book and those two things have occurred. By the end, his relationships with those in the bar don't deepen, they simply marinate. And for me, closing the book by coming back to his hometown to see how it was affected by 9/11 gets off track. We want to hear about his catharsis, not the town's. Like some books and drinking nights, this one attempts to cover too much ground. Paring it down would have helped both.

  • Denise
    2018-09-30 01:10

    5 stars! My friend Beth wanted me to read this for ages! I still have tears in my eyes at the poignancy of this memoir. I don't think I can write a review of The Tender Bar. I just really liked it and am happy I read it and would tell others to read it too. It is very sad though. It's amazing how well he wrote, using such great descriptive words that you really could almost feel you were right there with him experiencing it all.I'd recommend it!

  • Thomas Holbrook
    2018-10-11 05:11

    One must have a “place” in order to be. Without a place to stand, one cannot perceive the idea of belonging. For many, if not most, of us spend a great deal of our “growing up” years sorting out just where that “place” is. This mythical location that is more real than the keys of this computer, is made up of: physical location, culture, belief, what is ingested, speech, language and a multitude of other factors that are as imperceptible as the “daily recommended allowance” of needed vitamins and minerals in one’s diet and are just as vital. Not least in this list of needs is our heritage; those people from whom we originate not only give us genes but also are the “ground zero” from which we begin this “place” journey. If part of that heritage is absent (i.e., if one parent is missing) then the work of finding one’s place is made exponentially more difficult. This struggle is a major part of what makes this memoir such a page turner. Mr. Moehringer gives voice to the common journey of finding one’s place, on one’s terms, while learning to deal with those things that are missing from one’s personal “need’s list.”J. R. Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize winner (for feature writing) was reared by a single mother, in her parents’ house, down the street from a well-known bar. Each of those parts is a vital key to the story spun by Mr. Moehringer. His mother married young to a man of amazing vocal talents and volatile temperament. She left him after the last time he tried to kill her. The only place she had to go, given financial constraints, was to return to her childhood home, where a seemingly vast number of other family members resided. This location was ruled by his grandfather, an insurance salesman who, “once he amassed enough money to generate a dependable income for the rest of his life, he quit,” (p. 30) he quit caring for himself, his house or his family. His Uncle Charlie tended bar at “Dickens,” which later became “Publicans,” and the men he met there became those from whom he learned about life, love, drinking, revenge, forgiveness; where he gained support, guidance, reproof, a sense of the world and was celebrated for the sole reason that he was alive.It is little wonder that this watering hole became so important to the author. It supplied him with a “ground zero,” from which he could begin defining that ethereal thing called the Self. Wherever he went - Arizona (where his mother relocated), Yale (where he went to college), The New York Times (where he worked for four years as a copy boy) - his heart remained at home and to which he immediately returned - this tavern. It was a shelter from a broken heart, missed promotions, difficult family members and the demands of growing up. It was all these things until it pushed him out into the world, as any good parent is to do. But this could only happen after he was forced to see himself as he was, not what he was “supposed” to be.This is a funny, heartbreaking, engrossing book. The majority of its push comes from the memories of a bar and its patrons in Manhasset, New York and the language is reflective thereof. It is a story of growing up, and Mr. Moehringer shields the reader from none of the milestones in that journey, regardless of what light they shed upon him. It is a book about a boy finding his calling and becoming a man. It is a revelation of this man gaining the understanding that, “(God) loves a good story. And He doesn’t give a damn about words. Words are the curtain we’ve hung between Him and our true selves” (p. 202). It is the report of an adult who realizes that “It takes just as many men to build a sturdy man, . . . , as it does to build a tower” (p. 203). Ultimately, it is the celebration of an individual who has been freed from the prison he had designed for himself, “In the time it took a man to fall down, Publicans had devolved from a sanctuary to a prison, as sanctuaries so often do” (p.342). This book is powerful because is speaks so eloquently of Mr. Moehringer’s truth.I hope to have the chance to buy Mr. Moehringer a coke someday. He feels like a friend.

  • Laurel-Rain
    2018-10-08 01:15

    If it takes a village to raise a child, for J. R. Moehringer, it took Manhasset, in Long Island, NY; and more specifically, it took a neighborhood bar named Dickens (later called Publicans).In the 1970s and 80s, the young boy was first captivated by The Voice, the unseen presence of his absent father. When the radio presence mysteriously disappeared, he inadvertently stumbled upon a host of other mentors in the bar on the corner in his village.Two themes guided the young boy: growing up to take care of his mother, and getting into Yale. Along the way, there were the men at the bar, who took him under their wing: Uncle Charlie; Steve, the bar owner with the Cheshire smile; Joey D; Cager; Bob the Cop….and assorted members of this very influential club of mentors who stood in for the missing father.We struggle along with J. R. as he achieves his goal of growing to manhood. Connecting with J. R. is inevitable, as the coming-of-age trials and tribulations are sprinkled with the stories of his mentors and his own voice laden with humor and honesty. From this “school” of tender influences, it is no surprise that J. R. became a writer. His efforts to become a reporter (from copyboy) at the New York Times had me rooting for him, even as his path inevitably took him elsewhere to greater heights.Other influences, like the quirky managers of a bookstore in Arizona, added “voices” to the others when they encouraged him and lent him books that would ever after enrich his life.In the final pages of "The Tender Bar," J. R. is watching a video of his mother holding him as a baby, and these thoughts sum up his story for me:“…I’d always believed that being a man meant standing your ground, but this was something my mother had done better than anyone. And yet she’d also known when it was time to go. She’d left my father, left Grandpa’s, left New York, and I was always the beneficiary of her restless courage. I’d been so focused on getting in, I’d failed to appreciate my mother’s genius for getting out….I’d always been dimly aware, but at that moment, with my first glimpse of the warrior behind my mother’s blank face, I grasped the idea fully and put it into words for the first time. All this searching and longing for the secret of being a good man, and all I needed to do was follow the example of one very good woman.“Brilliantly chronicled, one young man’s journey through life’s adversity toward his ultimate path captivated this reader to the very end, and left me wanting more of the story. Five stars.

  • JodyJulian
    2018-10-01 03:35

    "I used to say I'd found in Steve's bar the fathers I needed, but this wasn't quite right. At some point the bar itself became my father, its dozens of men melding me into one enormous male eye looking over my shoulder, providing that needed alternative to my mother, that Y chromosome to her X".--JR Moehringer, pg. 9 of prologueI keep saying this memoir reminded me of an American version of Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes". However, it's the essence more than the actual details that brings me to say that. It's that unremitting search for identity from a young boy's eyes, along with the piercing earnestness of that all consuming journey as they come of age in a world where early on, the cards are stacked against them. Both authors have this almost magical ability to shapeshift the reader into their lives, laughing and crying beside them. JR Moehringer wrote a book that not only gives tribute to 'the bar that raised him' but to the mother that sacrificed much of her own life for the sake of her son's. I'd never understood the lure of 'the bar' and the regulars that go there, other than possibly in the tv sitcom "Cheers".JR not only gave me an inside look at both the glory and tragedy of his hometown's bar but humanized it in such a way that I'll never look at a bar or its customers in the same way again. The regulars become family no matter how disparate. Wherein I once thought that people who went to a bar every day were hard core alcoholics, I now stand corrected for my harsh judgements. Granted, alcoholism is prevalent but that's only a small part. The local bar becomes a place where men and women go to bare their hearts, let down their daily facades, and stave off loneliness. More than anything though, JR's memoir has heart--like the Red Sox despite their repeated losses. You can't stop rooting for him, even when it looks like there's nothing left.It's sometimes hilarious, other times heart breaking but consistently honest in it's unflinching look at the imperfections of being human. It's the Velveteen Rabbit who happens to go to a bar everyday. No matter what, it's a love story to humanity. That's my hokey phrase of the day and I blame it on this book. Read it and you'll see why it's so easy to be this sentimental.

  • Allison
    2018-10-19 02:24

    Not a bad memoir; not particularly gripping, but very vivid in its way of person-description-by-storytelling. Probably the least "woe is me, I'm a drunk" and most interesting "look how I became a reporter for Times" book out there. And still, it became rambly. About two-thirds of the way through, I wondered why so many pages remained and what Moehringer could possibly have left to tell me that was so darned important. I hate when the story seems over and the book keeps going. Of course, I claim to hate when the story seems UNfinished and the book ends more, but I suppose that's a much better way to end a book--leave the reader wanting. Always a good sign for the author, anyway.I could easily see The Tender Bar becoming a cult classic within reading groups, but it didn't blow me away. What can I say--I'm a tough audience. I'd recommend this one more strongly to males, particularly the intellectual types. It's about male-bonding, after all, and I imagine many of them would relate to the issues Moehringer explores.

  • Kitty-Wu
    2018-09-27 01:06

    Casi nunca leo los prólogos. Me incomodan, no sé bien por qué. Éste prólogo lo leí porque era corto y era en voz del propio autor. Ha sido uno de los prólogos más prometedores y que más ganas me han dado de leer un libro en años. Y el resto no me ha defraudado. La autobiografía de JR Moehringer es tierna, entrañable, miserable y triste todo a un tiempo. Se lee con nostalgia, aunque no hayamos estado nunca en el Dickens/Publicans, y ni siquiera al final se nos van las ganas de tomarnos una copa en ese local.

  • Irina Subredu
    2018-10-06 03:21

    "Am început să urlu la Jimbo:- Urăsc întrebarea asta, i-am spus. Urăsc când oamenii mă întreabă despre ce e o carte. Oamenii care citesc pentru intrigă, oamenii care înghit povestea ca pe umplutura dintr-un biscuit Oreo ar trebui să rămână la benzi desenate și telenovele. Despre ce e? Orice carte care valorează cât negru sub unghie e despre emoții, și dragoste, și moarte, și durere. E despre cuvinte. Despre om față în față cu viața. Da?"