Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The Tender Bar
"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. What's it about? 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 his life. Okay?" That is my favorite bit from The Tender Bar, A Memoir by J.R. Moehringer.
So what is the book about? I knew you'd ask. Is it actually about a bar? Is it about a boy's struggle to find some male-ness in his fatherless world? Is it about an aspiring writer? Is it about triumph or tragedy? Is it about friendship and strength? Heroes and losers? Pain and pleasure? Is it about wasted opportunities or grabbing the golden ring? Is it about growing up or growing away? Is it comic or crushing? Happy or harrowing? Fortunate or fatal?
Yes, yes, yes! It is all these things! It is about making a family where one doesn't exist and it is about loving people in spite of their flaws and failures. It's about unlikely heroes and quiet successes. It is male bonding and tender intermissions.
It's about words. It's about a man dealing with his life.