Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Tender Bar [Moehringer]

Book: The Tender Bar
Author: J.R. Moehringer
Reason for Reading: Book Club
Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: ( A Pulitzer-Prize winning writer for the Los Angeles Times, Moehringer grew up fatherless in pub-heavy Manhasset, New York, in a ramshackle house crammed with cousins and ruled by an eccentric, unkind grandfather. Desperate for a paternal figure, he turns first to his father, a DJ whom he can only access via the radio (Moehringer calls him The Voice and pictures him as "talking smoke"). When The Voice suddenly disappears from the airwaves, Moehringer turns to his hairless Uncle Charlie, and subsequently, Uncle Charlie's place of employment--a bar called Dickens that soon takes center stage.

Christine's Review: Dickens-a bar where people of all classes interact, talk politics, literature and befriend each other. Sound familiar? If you've ever seen the tv show Cheers, you have the idea. Picture Sam with a nephew that hung out at the bar throughout his teen years and early 20s and you catch the drift. Moehringer is a product of divorced parents and seeks father figures at the bar. He drinks to celebrate his successes (getting into Yale, getting a new job, etc) and he drinks away his sorrows (struggling at Yale, losing his job, women troubles).

I kept reading anticipating a big 'event' that would catapult Moehringer forward in life but it never happened. The climax at the end of the book was not really a climax. I never connected with the characters and didn't care about them. After reading The Glass Castle and Running with Scissors this memoir was boring. Moehringer's life wasn't that interesting and while he tried to be introspective in certain sections, I felt it was lacking (does he consider himself an alcoholic? he doesn't really say). Additionally, the writing style, while witty at times, read like a long newspaper article. The flow was 'off.'

Overall, this is a boring read and the story doesn't provide any insight on anything we don't already know.

Recommend: NO

Book Junkie's Grade: C

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