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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In a place that inspired Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby, young J. R. Moehringer lives with his single mother and mercurial grandfather in a cramped home with a rather-too-colorful cast of strident aunts, down-on-their-luck uncles, and their various offspring. It is 1970s Manhasset, Long Island, and J.R. is lonely and adrift.
Desperate to escape, J.R.'s mother takes him on long drives, where his dreams are fueled by the sight of the deep, plush lawns and dazzling, gated mansions that served as Fitzgerald's East Egg. But it is J.R.'s introduction to the local pub and its vibrant constellation of characters that would have the greatest effect on him. A panoply of discordant human notes, by turns raucous, witty, vulgar, and wise, these men -- who never quite grew up themselves -- became, for the forlorn young J.R., a veritable symphony of human succor and safety. As J.R. becomes a man, however, he realizes that the bar doesn't grant wishes as much as fill needs in a place where accepting the inevitability of failure is a defense against future disappointment.
A keenly heartfelt memoir by a writer who has been deemed "the best memoirist of his kind since Mary Karr," The Tender Bar is filled with insight into the most fundamental human longings. Before J.R. can grasp such insight though, he is forced to face the truth -- about others and, most important, about himself. (Holiday 2005 Selection)