One of the qualities of a great memoir, I think, is that it makes the reader want to write about his own life. And not just to write about it, but to write well — introspectively, affectingly, and with uncommon clarity and lucidity.

That’s how I’ve felt since last night, when I finished The Tender Bar, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter J.R. Moehringer. It floored me. It’s one of the funniest, saddest, most touching books I’ve ever read. It’s not for children, but Moehringer’s writing about his childhood is stellar and plumbs way down beneath the surface. Anyone writing for or about children and teenagers could do far worse than to see how he does it.