Reviewed for Wit and Sin
Waiting for Tom Hanks is a light, fluffy read that’ll make you want to curl up and watch a ’90s rom-com after you finish it. Like our heroine, Annie Cassidy, I grew up watching rom-coms like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail with my mother. These movies have always been joyful, brought hope, and made you want to find a Tom Hanks-like person of your own. Author Kerry Winfrey drew me in immediately with her buoyant tone and clear love of rom-com tropes.
Waiting for Tom Hanks is a bit of a difficult book for me to review. I wanted to love it; the nostalgia factor alone could easily sell me on this story. But I struggled a lot with Annie’s character and – try as I might to like her – she simply wasn’t the Meg Ryan/Sandra Bullock/Nora Ephron hybrid she envisioned herself as. Annie is a writer with dreams of becoming the next Nora Ephron and finding her very own Tom Hanks. Her obsession with rom-coms was endearing at first and Ms. Winfrey did show why these movies touched Annie so deeply. But Annie’s insistence on framing every event in her love life through the lens of a movie did start to grow tiresome as the story went on. She showed a distinct lack of growth and maturity, and nowhere was this more apparent than in her relationship with Drew. Drew Danforth is a Hollywood hottie filming a rom-com in Annie’s neighborhood. To Annie, Drew is no Tom Hanks and despite the fact that he’s never anything less than nice and patient, she’s pretty rude to him for a good portion of the book. Why Drew falls for her is beyond me and I really wanted to shake the man and tell him to run for it. He’s a funny, likeable hero who loves his family and is genuinely kind to the quirky characters of Annie’s hometown. So why he sticks around a person who runs hot-and-cold, believes every tabloid headline she reads, and alternates between trying to shove him in and push him out of her fantasy narrative is beyond me. The plot requires it, is all I can say.
Annie is the center of Waiting for Tom Hanks and I just couldn’t connect with her. But fortunately Drew and a strong supporting cast lifted the book back up. Annie’s sci-fi/fantasy-loving uncle charmed the heck out of me, her best friend, Chloe, was vibrant and endearing, grumpy coffee shop owner Nick made me smile, the even grumpier Dungeon Master Rick made me smile, and even the slightly odd duck Gary made me laugh (and want to get the details on his marriage because that guy has one crazy interesting story, I’m sure of it). So even though Waiting for Tom Hanks didn’t quite live up to the promise of its premise, I would still read more of Ms. Winfrey’s work.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.