I love a book about a bar. Throw in some quirky characters and a handsome main character and you have yourself a page turner. This week at my BBY book club, I was reminded of a book that I read several years ago, “The Tender Bar” by JR Moehringer that fits the bill.
This is a memoir about a boy who grew up without a father and about the people and places that can make up for that gap. JR hooked me on page 17 with a line that both sums up the book and my personal philosophy ….”Life is all a matter of choosing which voices to tune in and which to tune out, a lesson I learned long before most people, but one that took me longer than most to put to good use.”
JR is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist so this is a book full of great prose and my copy has many underlined passages. Apparently Andre Agassi must have thought so too because after HE read the book he approached JR and asked him to help him write his memoir. JR initially declined but Andre persisted and eventually they collaborated on Andre’s memoir titled “Open”. JR did not take credit for this book, but Andre wrote a long acknowledgement to him and there have been several interesting articles written about how well they collaborated. If you haven’t read “Open”, it’s an amazing book. Most people know that Andre famously hated tennis but with the help of JR, they go deep into Andre’s story and it’s one of the best memoirs about an athlete that I have ever read.
I will end with my favorite line from the book about the quirky men at the bar. “Everything the men taught me that summer fell under the loose catchall of confidence. They taught me the importance of confidence. That was all. But that was enough. That, I realized later, was everything.”