JR Moehringer and his figurative language…

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes and metaphors from JR Moehringer…

John Joseph Moehringer, known by his pen name JR Moehringer, is an American novelist, journalist, and ghostwriter. In 2000, he won the Pulitzer Prize for newspaper feature writing.

I first encountered his work many years ago when reading the memoir of Andre Agassi, Open, which he had ghostwritten. I’m not even interested in tennis and I found the book unputdownable.

Then, in the recent flurry of publicity surrounding Spare, the memoir of Prince Harry, I learned that JR Moehringer had also written that one. I also spotted many references to Moehringer’s own memoir, The Tender Bar, so I decided to read that one next.

Great decision! The book is beautifully written and filled with colourful figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • Everything about the men had this surreal, cartoonish quality, With their scant hair, giant shoes, and overdeveloped upper bodies, they looked like Blutos and Popeyes and steroidal Elmer Fudds.
  • I remember that Steve wielded a wooden bat the size of a telephone pole, and every home run he clouted hovered in the sky like a second moon.
  • Steve never stopped smiling. His smile was like the strobe from a lighthouse, making everyone feel a little safer.
  • Sunday afternoons we’d climb into our rust-spackled 1963 T-Bird, which sounded like a Civil War cannon, and go for a drive.
  • The basement was where the furnace rumbled, the cesspool backed up, and cobwebs grew as big as tuna nets.
  • At Grandpa’s my mother and Grandma fumbled with my necktie, which was brown and wider than the runner on the dining room table.
  • He wasn’t on his best behavior, he was on someone’s else’s behavior. He got out of the Pinto as though stepping from a limousine at the Academy Awards.
  • He adored that car. I watched him straighten the rearview, tenderly, as if pushing a lock of hair from the face of someone he loved.
  • He seemed to be made of spare parts from different Muppets, like a Sesame Street Frankenstein — head of Grover, face of Oscar, thorax of Big Bird.
  • She had hair the color of scotch, bright green eyes, and freckles that looked like tiny wet leaves stuck to the bridge of her nose.
  • My literature seminar was taught by a tall rawboned man in his forties, who had a Vandyke beard and eyebrows that were brown and constantly aflutter, like miller moths.
  • He had curly, carroty hair, with tumbled out of his golf visor like a houseplant that had outgrown its pot.
  • He grabbed a scotch bottle by the neck as if it were a chicken he was going to strangle.
  • He was to bar fighting what Hemingway was to bullfighting — a practitioner, a connoisseur, an apologist.
  • She trailed perfume behind her like a transparent pink streamer.
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