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The Tender Bar

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The Tender Bar Review


In JR Moehringer's memoir, The Tender Bar, he tells how he grew up in the bar packed town of Manhasset, New York. Even though I live in a house with three other people, I felt like I knew exactly how hectic it was at JR's grandparent's home with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and his mother all under one roof with one bathroom.

JR is a very interesting character to read about. He has a love for books and learning but is very troubled by the absence of his father. As he looks for male role models you become introduced to a crowd of very unique and mysterious regulars of the barroom. Each has an impact on JR that he remembers distinctly. Uncle Charlie is JR's main influence though as they both share a love for words and the bar called Dickens, which later is renamed Publicans. JR looks to his Uncle Charlie as a father as when his uncle takes him to the beach and into the bar, both of which are memories that shape JR's future.

As a boy JR yearns to find his father, but settles with listening to his father's radio shows and is stuck to imagine whom his father really is. When he abandons hope in his father he looks at every man in his life as a role model before disregarding some. Through changes of location and attempts at being changed by people JR manages to get into college where he has a relationship that teaches him a few lessons. During his twenties JR falls in love with Publican's and keeps finding his way back to it. As a writer the author goes into journalism for profession and tries to write a novel about the bar he visits nightly and what it represents to him.

The Tender Bar is a very pleasant read. After the characters and setting are established the book pulls you deep into the plot and I seemed to be able to feel all the author's emotions at his times of joy and despair. One part of the book I didn't really enjoy was the fact that sometimes almost a year of his life was just left out. Another thing I didn't like about the book was how quickly the author would jump from one subject to another and it was up to you to realize that and establish whom that part was about. All the characters in the book were like no one I know so it was interesting reading about all different types of people from different walks of life. I'm not a huge reader but I really enjoyed this book because of the great characters, description, plot, and setting. I think it is a must read.





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