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Likely Stories: Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks


Collection of wonderful stories by the noted actor, Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks has a solid record as an actor.  He was born July 9, 1956.  He is well known for his comedic and dramatic roles in such films as Sleepless in Seattle, Forest Gump, Apollo 13, Cast Away, and Saving Private Ryan, to name a few.  He is widely regarded as an American cultural icon.  Uncommon Types: Some Stories is his first book.

The first story, “Three Exhausting Weeks” reveals much of the details of their relationship.  Anna is a whirlwind of ideas.  Hanks wrote, “Anna was still very pretty.  She never lost her lean, rope-taut body of a triathlete, which, in fact, she had been.  For a day, I showed her some available spaces, none of which she wanted for reasons that made little sense to me.  I could tell she was just as driven, focused, and tightly wound as she had been in [college].  She had too keen an eye for the smallest of details and left no stones unturned, uninspected, unrecorded, or unreplaced if they needed replacing.  Adult Anna was no more my type than Teen Anna had been” (5-6).  They became a couple.

On “Day Two” of his diary, the un-named boyfriend wrote, “My Monday morning breakfast was buckwheat pancakes, chorizo sausage, a huge bowl of berries, and percolated coffee.  Anna opted for some herbal tea I had long ago tucked away in the pantry and a tiny bowl of nuts she chopped up with a cleaver.  She counted out eight blueberries to round out her nutritious breakfast.  I shouldn’t say that neither of us wore clothes as we ate, as it will make us sound like nudists, but the fact is we tumbled out of bed without the slightest inhibitions” (7). 

Day 8-15.  “Being Anna’s boyfriend was like training to be a Navy SEAL, while working full-time in an Amazon fulfillment center in the Oklahoma Panhandle in tornado season.  Something was going on every moment of every day.  My 2:30 naps were a thing of the past” (19).  Day 16.  “‘Why haven’t you finished the workbook?’ Anna wanted to know. // ‘A date with a belt sander took up my time.’ // Driving home, I felt a chalky tickle in the back of my throat, like I was getting a cold. // ‘Don’t say you are getting a cold,’ Anna said.  ‘If you tell yourself you are sick, you allow yourself to be sick’” (24).  I thoroughly enjoyed the sardonic tone in this and all the stories. 

Interspersed among the stories, is a series of brief paragraphs, “Our Town Today with Hank Fiset.”  The first of these little tidbits is quite funny “An Elephant in the Pressroom.”  He writes, “So many rumors here at da Paper!  The Bull Elephant in the room says the Tri-Cities Daily News/Herald is giving up the economic ghost of a printed version of our Great Triple-Metropolitan Newspaper.  If/when such a business move is made, the only way you’ll be reading my column and everything else you now hold in your hands is one of your many digital devices—your phone, maybe, or a watch that needs recharging every night” (85).

There are many interesting stories in this collection, and I especially loved a rather heartwarming story, “A Special Weekend,” about a young boy who spends time with his mother.  Tom Hanks has written a marvelous collection of stories, Uncommon Type: Some Stories.  All are worthy reads.  5 Stars

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!

Life-long voracious reader, Jim McKeown, is an English Instructor at McLennan Community College. His "Likely Stories" book review can be heard every Thursday on KWBU-FM! Reviews include fiction, biographies, poetry and non-fiction. Join us for Likely Stories every Thursday featured during Morning Edition and All Things Considered with encore airings Saturday and Sunday during Weekend Edition.