Amanda Reads: Waiting for Tom Hanks

Summer time=reading time. I had the joy of camping in the Adirondacks a few weeks ago, which of course meant that I got an extra dose of reading time.

Naturally, I spent it curled up with a lovely rom com of a book–Kerry Winfrey’s Waiting for Tom Hanks. 

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I’ve been a fan of Kerry’s ever since I encountered her blog, A Year of Rom Coms, in which she spent a year watching and rewatching romantic comedies. Like many women around our age, I, too, grew up on romantic comedies, and was thrilled to see this blog filled with unapologetic joy for the genre. Romantic comedies over the past decade have fallen out of fashion, in part due to some incredibly valid criticism about their lack of diversity and reliance on sexist tropes, among other issues. While we are (thank goodness) starting to see Rom Coms again (thanks, Crazy Rich Asians & Netflix), there’s a special place in many of our hearts for the classics of our youths.

All that is to say, my favorite genre of read is without a doubt the romantic comedy style book. Naturally, I awaited the release of Waiting for Tom Hanks eagerly, sure that my fellow Ohioan romantic comedy fan would deliver a book I could fall in love with.

I was oh so correct on this front. While I expected something in the Young Adult vein, I was presently surprised to find the protagonist was exactly my age, struggling with the same existential career woes I am. Add in the fact that the book references Dungeons & Dragons with frequency, takes place in Ohio, and is littered with references to romantic comedies, and you’ve essentially created a Summoning Circle for one Amanda Kay Oaks.

This book took a few unexpected turns as I tried to do my usual “predict the plot” antics within the first few chapters. It has a delightful mix of romantic comedy tropes while still angling for something new and mixing it up where it counts. The protagonist can be a bit frustratingly unaware of the obvious, but seeing as that’s part of the genre, I could forgive her stubborn refusal to understand and process reality appropriately when it comes to The Love Interest.

Waiting for Tom Hanks features a wide array of well drawn characters, taking the time to hash out even the side characters with their own personal details and idiosyncrasies. I absolutely loved this book and it felt every bit like the written version of an on-screen romantic comedy. I’ve no doubt that I’ll be returning to this time and time again, and suggest that you pick it up, too.

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