The Tender Bar: A Memoir
by J.R. Moehringer. (Hyperion books, 2005)
The Tender Bar is an autobiography of a young boy growing up in Manhasset. JR spent his childhood listening to Sinatra, exercising his fascination with vocabulary and tuning the dial of his radio searching for the voice of his father, a disk jockey. Never having met him, JR's father left when he was young and despite the close relationship with his mother, the absence left JR craving male attention.
He eventually finds this male companionship in his Uncle Charlie. Accompanying his uncle to the bar where he works, JR finds all the male influence he could want along with a captivation for the stories he hears there. As time passes on, JR grows up, is accepted into an Ivy League college for journalism, lands a job and meets an attractive girl. But as opportune as his life seems to be, JR becomes a fixture at the bar learning the unwritten rules of tavern etiquette while his life begins to pass by him. The Tender Bar is a touching story of young JR and the life changing decisions he must make.
The award winning author's depiction of the inner mind of a child and the daily portrayal of his own struggles is astounding. The unique characters are well drawn and they help to craft a distinctive setting. It's no surprise the author wrote this memoir after being surrounded by such a diverse community with such remarkable stories.
Review By Erin Gurry
Rating: 4 out of 5