I heard the name, J.R.Moehringer for the first time when I read the acknowledgements of the book, ‘Open’ by Andre Agassi. I enjoyed the book and the writing style. After few years, I read the Phil Knight’s memoir which had the similar style. No wonder, it is the same author. J.R.Moehringer.
Finally, I got a chance to read his own memoir knowing his writing life and personal life. It was titled, ‘The Tender Bar.’ What important role does a bar play in a life I thought, but, as I read the book, I discovered the beauty of the J.R’s life.
J.R.Moehringer, raised by single parent(mother), was curious about his father who left their family, despaired to see there’s no fatherly figure, to look up in their family, he craved for an escape. The Dickens, Steve’s bar gave him a chance.
His uncle Charlie works at the bar and introduced to the characters of the bar and his experiences with the people over there changed life for many reasons. As a boy, he solaced in the comfort of being around a lot of men, discovering the world. Few times, he attempted to understand, why their family members act the way, they act and he could find few answers.
His school visit with his Grand Pa is one experience that puts how different people are. Enjoyed reading about it.
In the process of knowing his father, he learned about his family a lot.
Growing among the company of men, he realized his mother struggled a lot to cater to his needs. Part of caring for J.R, his mother decided to move to Arizona with him. J. R’s life was no good at the new place. Loneliness and guilty burdened his life. Coping up with the new school, J.R worked out in his way. He tried to work at the book store accidentally.
His encounter with Bill and Bud changed his life. The introduction to the reader’s world, one may call it. They showed him the ticket to the world, Yale University. Amidst the teenage rush, comparing the lives, J.R got through Yale being covered on financial expenses. And a journey discovering his life through college, women, and the bar is the rest of the book.
J.R.’s introspective struggle on his identity and his passion is laid out through out the book. His narrative writing makes the book, gripping. The craft of showing the reader but not telling is clearly visible here.
I enjoyed how he described the characters and the subtle recounting the nuances of a person. Reading through the Tender Bar, it seemed I traveled through the bar witnessing his life.
My take away from this book is the writing style and choice of words. It’s brilliant.
There are stories that humbled me of the opportunities I got through in real life. Reading Bill and Bud encounter, I felt grateful I met good friends, who introduce me to the beautiful things in life. Books.
I enjoyed the book.