The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig
What’s it about?
Rusty is twelve years old in the summer of 1960. He lives in a small town in Montana with his father Tom. Tom owns, operates, and tends bar at the best joint in this small western town.
What did it make me think about?
This novel is really a coming of age story. It touches on family, forgiveness, and the complexities we face as our childhoods come to an end.
Should I read it?
This was a really good book, but it moves at a slower pace. Somehow that feels right in this novel. The pacing matches the story line and the book feels like a leisurely trip back in time. I finished the book yesterday and have been surprised how much I am already missing the characters. No picking the book up today to see what is going on in the bar!
"Yet, as peculiar a pair as we made, the bachelor saloonkeeper with a streak of frost in his black pompadour and the inquisitive boy who had been an accident between the sheets, in the end I would not have traded my involuntary parent for a more standard model. It is said that it takes a good storyteller to turn ears into eyes, but luckily life itself sometimes performs that trick on us. In what became our story together, when life took me by the ears, what a fortunate gamble it was that my father included me in his calling. Otherwise, I'd have missed out on the best seat in the house- the joint, rather- when history came hunting for him.
I turned twelve that year of everything, 1960. But as my father would have said, it took some real getting there first."
If you like this try-
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
favorites from 2020
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best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
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last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!