A Rom-Com That is Let Down by its Main Character | Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

5:33 PM

I didn't hate Waiting for Tom Hanks, but it definitely wasn't my favourite of the year and most of this can be traced back to its lead character.


Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days...can he?

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey 
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5) 

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Despite my low rating, I did find Waiting for Tom Hanks to be a nice read. It was enjoyable. In some ways, it definitely checked all the right slots for being a rom-com. Yet, in so many ways, it felt unfairly flat and lackluster. I had mixed feelings about it, in other words. Was it fun? Oh, yes, to a degree. Was it fluffy and light, and perfect for a one-and-done beachy read? Sure.

In all truthfulness, Waiting for Tom Hanks didn't shine like it could have with a narrator like Annie--who admittedly, isn't the worst narrator I've encountered, but who certainly wasn't my favourite. In fact, Waiting for Tom Hanks seemed to shine brighter in the moments where pretty much any other character showed up.

Which leads me to my first problem with the novel... I really didn't like the main character. Here's what it felt like while getting to know Annie: for every good trait, she had a bad trait. For every bad trait, the next one made this bad trait feel like a warm-up act to other bad traits. I won't deep dive into because honestly I'm still scratching my head in confusion and just really wasn't keen on her as a character.

(This will likely be a personal preference thing, rather than a dig at the author. Obviously.)

As for the other characters, it was a hit or miss experience for me. You see, I could have easily dived into a story that centered around Annie's uncle, Don, or Annie's best friend, Chloe. (Edit: Chloe is apparently getting a sequel of her own? Yay!) But for every Don and Chloe, there was an Annie or Drew. Don't get me wrong, Drew isn't nearly as frustrating as Annie but he is still not a character that I felt especially attached to and there was a lot to his development and personality that rubbed me the wrong way.

Now, with the romance in Waiting on Tom Hanks I felt very much so numb. It had a few cute moments here and there, but for the most part it felt too predictable and a little lackluster for me .

The romance never feels sickly sweet, so I do think a lot of people are going to find it to be endearing and indulgent, and I will say that Kerry Winfrey's writing is the one thing that kept me reading--it's smooth and easy to slip into.

Before I picked up Waiting on Tom Hanks I was warned that the white feminism was strong in this one, but I didn't really expect to be so blatant. Like a few others have pointed out with this novel's issues: this novel is so freaking lacking in diversity. I don't know what else to say except uh, yikes? Tied into the fact that I just didn't connect with the main character, it's easy to see why this one didn't work for me.

While Annie was waiting on her romantic lead (and for life to begin, constantly tripping over her own thoughts and unable to see what was right in front of her) I couldn't help but feel as though I was waiting for this novel to straighten itself out and feel me with the warm and fuzzies. I don't regret reading Waiting for Tom Hanks and will definitely check out the sequel, I can't see myself ever rereading it again. 

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