Reading guide for The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Tender Bar

by J.R. Moehringer

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer X
The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 370 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. In the memoir, JR has a difficult childhood and family circumstances in many respects, but there are also many positive elements to his childhood, including a loving mother and grandmother. Compare Moehringer's portrait of childhood to other memoirs you've read.

  2. There are various portrayals of "good" and "bad" men in the memoir. What are the different definitions of goodness in men?

  3. Alcohol permeates the memoir. In what ways is it both a positive and a negative factor in the lives of the various characters?

  4. JR's mother is deeply conflicted about her living circumstances. Do you think her experiences are representative of the struggles of many single mothers? Do you think she is a strong character? Did you admire her, or empathize with her?

  5. JR's grandmother is tremendously long suffering, verbally abused by both her husband and her son, and forced to put up with her husband's stinginess and philandering. Did you find her a sympathetic character? Did her dilemma feel familiar to you?

  6. JR's grandfather is terrible to his wife and children, and mostly terrible to his grandchildren. Yet he has occasional moments of greatness, such as at JR's school breakfast. What do you think motivated JR's grandfather? Did you find him likable?

  7. JR and his mother spend a good bit of time during his childhood looking at other houses, and the ways that other people live. JR even peeks in livingroom windows. Consider the ways that such comparisons might be a positive or a negative influence.

  8. JR grows up without a present father. How do you think his search for a masculine identity compares to that of men who grew up with fathers--good or bad--who were more present in their lives?

  9. The men along the bar are depicted warts and all--did you consider them positive role models? Which of the men was most appealing to you, and why?

  10. At various points in his young adulthood, JR notices that the men in the bar have conflicting attitudes toward success in other men. What does this stem from? Was it familiar to you?

  11. Sports and athletes are tremendously important in the memoir, particularly among the men--athletes are admired and even deified, and games and matches are focal points of drama in the memoir and the experience of them can even become personal milestones. Consider the importance of sports in men's lives and relationships with each other.

  12. Sidney is compared to Daisy in The Great Gatsby. In what other ways do characters and circumstances in The Tender Bar resemble that novel, particularly with respect to class and aspiration?

  13. In what ways was JR's enormous ambition a positive element in his life, and in what ways was it the source of pain? Is this inevitable?

  14. At the end, JR suggests that Sidney wasn't wrong to have wondered about a young man who spent so much time in a bar. Did you find her sympathetic?

  15. How did you feel about the epilogue, and the way that the events of the epilogue tied together the themes of the memoir? Did you feel resolution? Did you think JR had changed? In what ways?

  16. Did you see yourself and any of your own experiences as a parent, child, man or woman in the memoir?

Free Book Club Report

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Hyperion. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Judge Hunter
    The Judge Hunter
    by Christopher Buckley
    In London 1664, Balthasar de St. Michel or "Balty" has no discernable skills besides pestering his ...
  • Book Jacket: Star of the North
    Star of the North
    by D.B. John
    It's summertime. You're looking for an absorbing thriller while you flop at the beach. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.