memoir / nonfiction

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer

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Another mashup of memoir and some research, this time into female friendship, Text Me When You Get Home was a peek into a bit of a different world for me.

I could not relate to the bulk of this book at all, the author was desperate for friends and acceptance in a way that I can’t imagine being. To be honest, a lot of the books about I read about women, their self-esteem and relationships feel like an anthropological study to me. The yearning for acceptance, all of the issues around being seen as “nice” and “good” and the sturm und drang around marriage are just not things I have ever really given much thought to in my personal life. I mean, I have friends and a husband but I never felt some pressure to have either like Kayleen Schaefer and so many women seem to have.

Anyway, I do always enjoy a memoir with facts so this was a good pick for me even if I couldn’t relate to worrying about what a friend from middle school thought of me now, rehashing prom dates and joining (and quitting!) a sorority. She also delves a bit into her mother’s life which involved a gang of friends she lived and traveled with prior to marriage and how friends didn’t play much of role in her life after marriage. She gets into some broader trends–the average age of marriage is getting later so she thinks women need friends more than ever. She is big on the “soul mate” theory and thinks you can find it in a friendship vs a romantic relationship. She also admires specific women and seems to wish to be like them in a way, again, I couldn’t quite relate to. The book really is mostly her own life and experiences with a few facts tossed in along the way. The basic conclusion is that women need friends and that friends are important and fulfilling.

Somewhat oddly (but I appreciated it!) she did not veer into much about motherhood and children. Perhaps because she isn’t married nor has children? I sense a sequel if she does.

Another minor quibble about the book, she references the summer of 2015 like it was long ago (#squadgoals) and tells of Instagram trends at the time (food shaped pool floats) to pinpoint it exactly in our mind but of course, the summer of 2015 must have been shortly before (during?) the time she was writing the book and only about 2 years before its publication and nothing really happened at the time beyond Taylor Swift apparently socializing in a pack. Which still happens. Not sure why she had to be so specific there.

She does briefly mention a woman who lives in an all-woman apartment building (with no male visitors allowed) in Manhattan in the current day which I found fascinating. I’d love to read a whole book about that! If you want me to write it, The Webster, let me know!

All in all, the book was fine. Nothing revolutionary but enjoyable enough. I do think she could have probably done a short series of articles on the subject (or started a blog/website if that isn’t too passé) and accomplished the same goal vs writing a whole book but that’s fine. I think if you were looking for a more scholarly work or a more serious look into female friendships you would be disappointed. If you like memoirs and are looking for something easy to read before bed, you will be fine. One caveat–as it really is a memoir with some facts and interviews thrown in, it is mostly about white, straight, upper-middle class women like the author. I feel like she was trying to create an arc for herself as someone who didn’t have female friends into someone who cherishes them but it seemed disingenuous since she details her close relationships in high school and joining of a sorority in college.

Incidentally, this is the last book I completed in April 2018, the 20th book of the month (I had the worst time getting into books in April so this is less than average) and the 103rd book of the year. My complete books read list is here.

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