Waiting for Tom Hanks – Kerry Winfrey (BOOK REVIEW)

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I went on a bit of a book requesting spree from my local library recently, and Waiting for Tom Hanks was one of the many books I put a hold on. It’s definitely thanks to Instagram, though I can’t remember exactly who inspired the choice, it was likely many of you. It is definitely one of those books that has been posted nearly everywhere!

The title was of course what drew me in, but it was the first sentence on the back cover that had me immediately opening my library app (BEST. THING. EVER.) and putting a hold on the book.

“Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron.”

Yes please. Count me in. You’ve Got Mail is my favorite movie. Sleepless in Seattle is definitely in my top ten, and they’re both easily in the top three for my favorite romantic comedies (with Love Actually completing the trio). So a romance novel with a focus on some of the best rom-com’s in existence? I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I stopped by my local library branch yesterday to pick up my copy on reserve and since it’s a newer release and in such demand, it’s a 7-day only hold. It’s also in the waiting pool, which means that others are in line and I can’t renew it. Of course I got another book that was a 7-day hold as well, so I knew I had to get to reading (leaving my other three reads on the back burner because I swear, it’s all or nothing when it comes to reading for me)! Before we get into the actual book review, let me just say that I really love the cover of this book! Sometimes I wish there was a whole separate Goodreads function for rating book covers because I have some opinions on the matter!

This is not the first book from author Kerry Winfrey, but it is the first book of hers that I’ve read. She has two other novels, and Waiting on Tom Hanks is slated for a sequel with Not Like The Movies.

The book focuses on Annie Cassidy, who is straight-up obsessed with romantic comedies. Perhaps mostly because it’s a connection for her to her parents. Her dad dies when she’s young, and her mother dies while she’s in high school, leaving Annie’s Uncle Don to move in and raise her. It’s just them against the world. A love of romantic comedies is something Annie has inherited from her mother and it’s a safe place for her. This kind of safety/comfort in fandoms is a theme that is carried throughout the book for many of the characters and one which I really appreciated and enjoyed as I relate to it.

Annie’s love for romantic comedies extends beyond mere comfort and enjoyment – she uses them for a guide in her life. Professionally, she hopes to write a successful screenplay (of a rom-com of course). Personally she analyzes her romantic relationships (and those of the people around her) on the formulas within many of her favorite movies. While Annie uses these unrealistically charming and magical movies as her guide in life, she lives her actual life on the safe side. The loss of her mother has made it difficult for Annie to leave the only connections to her that she has: her uncle Don, and her childhood home which they still share. Her neighborhood of Germantown, Ohio is safe and comforting and filled with memories (some good, some bad), and leaving it is a scary prospect. So when a movie comes to town to film, and her Uncle knows the director, ensuring her a job as his assistant, it’s fate. It being a romantic comedy just further proves that. It’s also on this set where her own romantic comedy comes alive, with not one, but three potential suitors (some more house trained than others…), one of which being the star of the film – Drew Danforth.

There are so many cute aspects of this book. This being a contemporary romance novel, I should expect that to be the case. But while the book has no shortage of adorable, charming moments, it was also a bit of a slow burn for me. It’s a really cute story, but Annie’s love for romantic comedies often borders on obsession and this repetitiveness got a bit grating to endure at times.

I found myself rooting for Annie throughout the book, but there were times where she frequently made me cringe. She’s the type of character who often gets in their own way, and while I know part of her story was her learning to let go, take risks, and move on, there were moments where she was a more than a little exhausting. But perhaps that’s just the thing when you’re seeing a character from your outside perspective – their flaws are much more noticeable than the flaws you yourself might possess, even if they’re the same or similar.

There’s definitely a bit of that “will they/won’t they” apprehension hanging in the air as the book progresses and I’m glad that it wasn’t entirely predictable from the word go. That tension is often what makes a romance novel good right?? It leads to those moments, just like in the romantic comedies of screen, where everything just crescendos and the story reaches its climax. Winfrey definitely nails the classic romance formula, but in a refreshing way. I loved all the various pop-culture/nerdy elements throughout the book – between all the talk of Nora Ephron films and Frasier, it felt like the book was quite often speaking to me, and me alone.

Waiting for Tom Hanks is really a lovely book – full of dynamic, very well developed characters. Looking beyond some of the early repetitiveness, it ended up being a super easy read for me as I plowed through the book in a little more than a day. It should certainly make its way onto everyone’s summer reading lists because it’s just the right blend of heavy and lightheartedness that I think we could all benefit from right now. Come on, couldn’t we all use an escape??

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5 stars.

For more of what I’m reading, you can follow me on Goodreads and Instagram!

Double Vision: Sitcoms & the Great Recasting

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – you’re watching a TV show and you notice that one actor who was on the show in its first few seasons, is back as somebody else. Well, I recently noticed this with Golden Girls when in one of the episodes Rose was dating a guy named Arnie Peterson who looked really familiar. Turns out the character was played by Harold Gould who would go on to portray another of Rose’s love interests with Miles Webber. A whole dissertation could be devoted to the way Golden Girls reuses actors or has several actors playing the same characters, but it’s not just Golden Girls that I’ve picked up on this, it’s sort of a whole thing…

 

Harold Gould as Arnie Peterson (left) and Miles Webber in The Golden Girls.

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In a 90s Kinda World, I’m Glad I’ve Got My (DVDs): Physical Media in a Digital Age

I’m a creature of habit. In most scenarios, I don’t like change. Change taunts my anxiety and makes me feel threatened, uncomfortable, and like I have lost whatever control or trust that I might have had. I love a good routine and dependability. Knowing that I can trust a certain aspect of my environment to be consistent is incredibly valuable to me. When I turn on the television at night, I take comfort in seeing The Golden Girls, or Frasier on my screen. Not only are they funny and entertaining, but they’ve become reliable aspects of my routine. I enjoy watching my sitcom reruns, but more than that, they keep me company late at night when I often struggle to find comfort, or sleep.

I’ve always had a pretty dysfunctional relationship with sleep – I remember as a kid closing my eyes and thinking, OK, if I fall asleep right now, I can get five hours of sleep before I have to get up for school. I got in trouble for reading in bed by the light coming through my window, or seeping in my room from another You’ll ruin your eyes!, my mom would scream. Check mate mom – I’ve worn glasses for years (though, I DON’T wear them for reading). I used to love going to sleepovers at my maternal grandmother’s house because she was a night owl. We’d watch I Love Lucy together, or The Golden Girls. We’d head to the grocery store at midnight, cruising around and stopping for DIY sandwiches in the car made from the deli and fresh bread we had bought. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not as much an insomniac as much as someone who just isn’t meant to ascribe to normal sleeping patterns. I’ve come to realize it’s sort of a family thing – my aunt, mother, and sister are all night owls. The difference being for them, is that they can all fall asleep quickly. Me on the other hand, not so much.

Which brings me back to my beloved sitcoms. I welcome their company every night because they’re so familiar. Often times, I find myself lying awake not simply due to insomnia, but because of painsomnia. My joints, nerve pain, or some other discomfort like to keep me awake at night. So having Rose Nylund, Roz Doyle, or even Lucy and Ethel to hang out with me is a nice comfort. But come October, I find myself at a loss because Hallmark likes to go crazy for Christmas and removes their overnight sitcom reruns in favor of their Christmas movies. So I surf around looking for other sitcoms to take comfort in. Luckily there isn’t much of a shortage, and I am grateful that multiple channels air them. During Christmaspalooza, I’m often watching The King of Queens, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, The New Adventures of Old Christine and others.

Christmas has come and gone, and generally, the start of January means that Hallmark goes back to their regularly scheduled programming. This year? Not quite. They’ve changed the schedule, eliminating shows, extending some and reducing others. This creature of comfort was not happy. But I’m not writing this just to bitch about how a television network messed up my routine (although, they did and I’m not gonna lie – I’m bitter about it), I’m writing this because it got me to thinking about a larger issue that has been on my mind a lot recently: digital vs. physical media.

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The 12 Episodes of Christmas: 12 Must-See Sitcoms for the Holidays

Can you believe there are only eight days until Christmas? That means that there are only eight days to figure out last-minute gifts, wrap them, and perhaps most sad to me – only a few days left of my new favorite Moser Roth chocolate truffle advent calendar. One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is giving myself the gift of some self-care and R&R (rest and relaxation) and that’s definitely true this year after wrapping up my first semester of grad school. I can’t think of a better way to relax than kicking back with my sitcoms (unless you add some advent truffles into the mix). Before you set out cookies and milk for the Big Man, here are the 12 Episodes of Christmas to get you in the holly jolly mood!

Frasier – “Perspectives On Christmas” (S5, Ep. 9)

This episode shows how things go awry for many of the characters through the course of one week leading up to the holidays, but arguably one of the best parts is the late John Mahoney attempting to sing “O Holy Night”.


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Get the Look: TV Style – Roz Doyle, Frasier

When I was blogging on my old blog, I started a series on TV style. I actually only wrote one post for the series, but I had the best of intentions of continuing it further. Well, I’ve moved on, but I want to carry that series over to this blog because it’s still a topic I feel like exploring. It’s in no way earth shattering to talk about the fashion of various television characters, but I feel like so many of the sites out there that look at the topic are neglecting older programs. Fashion, like everything, always comes back around so what was on trend years ago, has or will return again. In my first post on this topic, I focused on Daphne Moon from Frasier. I loved her cozy 90s vibe that was heavy on florals. Today though, I want to side step and talk about another character from the show: Roz Doyle.

Roz Doyle was such a dynamic character. She was strong and independent, while also displaying her flaws and vulnerability. Roz exhibited confidence and held her own in her profession which was dominated by men. She was unapologetic for how she lived her life – whether others approved or not. I think that Roz is frequently an overlooked and underappreciated character when there is discussion of feminism as represented through television. Roz Doyle definitely fits the bill in my book. Technically, I suppose that she is a supporting character, but Roz is by no means an accessory. I don’t know if the wardrobe for Peri Gilpin’s character was all that purposeful or not, but I feel like it sends a message either way. Her outfits frequently present a confident independent career woman with glimmers of sexuality. She’s not your damsel. All hail Rozalinda!

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Top Ten TV Characters I Loathe

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Last week we said goodbye to my favorite NCIS character: Abby Sciuto. I was really bummed when I first heard that she was going to be leaving the show after playing such an integral role in it for 15 years. I’ve honestly struggled to understand how the show could feasibly continue without her, especially after the team has seen so much loss in one way or another, in recent years (Ziva and DiNozzo being the most poignant departures). But alas, the show must go on…

I often think about the television characters that I love. The ones that make me laugh, or cry, or whom I just feel some sort of connection to. It’s easy to think about all the characters who are such an important part of the team, and it can be difficult to picture a show without certain characters. This might be an unpopular opinion, but while I wasn’t a huge fan of Derek Shepard (sorry!), it was still really hard for me to envision the show without him. Some shows continue along after the loss of significant characters, and others don’t. I know that many still aren’t over losing Derek. I get it, even if I don’t feel the same sentiment towards his highness. 😉

But today, I’m not looking to talk about my favorite characters or the ones who have had a strong impact on myself, or the program in which they exist. Today, I want to talk about the characters I loathe. The ones that make me cringe – who, no matter how many times I’ve seen a particular episode, still irritate the piss outta me. Read More »