My mother insisted that I read the Tender Bar. Usually I don’t mind book recommendations although I often answer them by directing people to my to read list on Goodreads. It came replete with recommendations from every major publication ever so I decided to give it a whirl. At the very least he lies to talk about The Great Gatsby.
It was good but I had trouble getting into it. He spent a lot of time talking about how his father left, which is fair and seems to have damaged him. However, it gets old after a while. There was also this uncomfortable feeling that is it a book about writers and drinking. That troubling and oft assumed relationship between writers and bars. It made me uneasy.
As he got older and it became more about him. I got more interested. Then it got to the last fifty or so pages and by the end I was on the verge of tears. His epilogue about returning home after 9/11 is some of the finest writing out there. It also really shows the impact that it had on the area, something that was hard to see from afar.
Even if you don’t have a pushy mother and your to read list is monstrous the Tender Bar is worth your while.