Kayleen Schaefer’s debut takes a personal and sociological look at the way friendships between women have developed throughout history, to become more nuanced and intimate than ever. Drawing on personal experience and interviews with friends, celebrities, writers, and historians, Schaefer renders a touching account of the importance of friendship in strengthening and supporting our life experiences.
Our friends are not our second choices. They are our dates for Friday nights and for
ex-boyfriends’ weddings. They are the visitors to our hometowns and hospital rooms.
They are the first people we tell about any news, whether it’s good, terrible, or
mundane. They are our plus ones at office parties. They are the people we’re raising
children with. They are our advocates, who, no matter what, make us feel like we
won’t fail. They are the people who will struggle with us and who will stay with us.
They are who we text when we get home.
I expected there to be a bigger focus on the significance of the title, “text me when you get home”, as an example of the steps women take to protect each other in a world so violent towards them, but it was not at all about that. What I got instead was an emotionally moving study of twenty-first-century female friendships. This book is like a 200+ page ode to friendship, and all the ups and downs that come with it.
There are personal anecdotes from the author, interviews with other everyday people, and comments from celebrities too. All these different experiences were so varied yet ultimately all showed how important friendships are. I think Schaefer covers the topic really well – she looks at how women’s friendships have been considered historically and how they’ve been presented in the media, from early film and television to present day shows like Parks & Rec and Broad City.
Schaefer also looked deeper into the idea of ‘mean girls’ and the lack of validity in that label which I found especially interesting. I went to an all-girls school, a place where you’d expect mean girl activity to be rife, but it was never as bad as the media seems to make it out to be, so it was fascinating to see studies that refuted those depictions.
I’m honestly blown away by how much I enjoyed this book, and how it made me consider my own friendships in a different light, as potentially life-long relationships. To sum up, I loved this book almost as much as I love my friends.
Rating: 5 / 5 stars