Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

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

Rate this book
From Girls to Parks and Recreation to Bridesmaids, the female friendship has taken an undeniable front seat in pop culture. Text Me When You Get Home is a personal and sociological perspective - and ultimately a celebration - of the evolution of the modern female friendship.

Kayleen Schaefer has experienced (and occasionally, narrowly survived) most every iteration of the modern female friendship. First there was the mean girl cliques of the '90s; then the teenage friendships that revolved around constant discussion of romantic interests and which slowly morphed into Sex and the City spin-offs; the disheartening loneliness of "I'm not like other girls" friendships with only men; the discovery of a platonic soul mate; and finally, the overwhelming love of a supportive female squad (#squad).

And over the course of these friendships, Schaefer made a startling discovery: girls make the best friends. And she isn't the only one to realize this. Through interviews with friends, mothers, authors, celebrities, businesswomen, doctors, screenwriters, and historians (a list that includes Judy Blume, Megan Abbott, The Fug Girls, and Kay Cannon), Schaefer shows a remarkable portrait of what female friendships can help modern women accomplish in their social, personal, and work lives.

A validation of female friendship unlike any that's ever existed before, this book is a mix of historical research, the author's own personal experience, and conversations about friendships across the country. Everything Schaefer uncovers leads to - and makes the case for - the eventual conclusion that these ties among women are making us (both as individuals and as society as a whole) stronger than ever before.

288 pages, Audiobook

First published February 6, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kayleen Schaefer

3 books112 followers
Kayleen Schaefer is a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and many other publications.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,471 (18%)
4 stars
2,415 (31%)
3 stars
2,552 (32%)
2 stars
1,021 (13%)
1 star
325 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,025 reviews
Profile Image for Marta.
54 reviews7 followers
March 6, 2018
This book is just a buzzfeed article about 20 reasons Your Galentine's Day Gal is More than Your BFF She's Your LITERAL SOUL MATE (no homo). But instead of Galentine's Day GIFs the author writes things like "'Galentine's Day' was introduced to the world by Leslie Knope, a fictional midlevel bureaucrat in an Indiana parks and recreation department on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation."

The real question this book-shaped listicle poses is - who, or WHAT, wrote it??? Was it written by a real human person who has simply decided to rebrand herself as a 100% (white) female feminist who treasures values worships (white) women's ways of brunching (no homo)? Or was it written by an AI who took a bunch of instragram feeds, buzzfeed articles, and Wikipedia entries about TV shows starring white ladies and turned it into this book??

It could go either way, but I think the AI would have included some information about people of color existing and making art and entertainment, have considered things that happened before 1980, would have at least met some gay people, would have some critical thinking skillz, might consider that the gender binary is a social construct, and would not have no-homo-ed the following things:

lesbian love poetry
Thelma & Louise
Boston Marriages
2 Female Olympic Athletes dancing around their room topless except for their olympic medals covering their breasts, like one medal over each breast, and this is the form their joy is taking
Sarah Paulson
Women Gently Embracing While Looking In Each Other's Eyes and Planning to Live Together and Raise their Babies As Part of One Family
All Romantic and Sexual Relationships Between Women Throughout History

Anyway, this book is the worst, but it was pretty fun to Mean-Girl it!
Profile Image for Bookisshhh.
217 reviews4 followers
August 7, 2019
Ugh. This book was a complete waste of time. The author is self indulgent and weaves her fantastic state of friendship affairs in and out of historic discusssion of the evolution of feminine friendship as represented on television. I read to avoid television and reading this book is like watching all the television shows I’ve avoided (sans Sex In The City). The author replays way too much of mentioned show episodes, and as a premise this hardly reads as a sociological analysis but more as a bunch of chicks bonding over favorite TV shows as they daintily throwback a glass of Prosecco (Rose too swanky for this lot). It’s a shame because I think this analysis is meaningful to make and value can be gained for those whom may struggle with female friendships, groups of women, or just don’t fit into the shiny new Stepford gal personae. Perhaps the author can submit this book to TV guide and gain the response they’re seeking for this effort. Thanks anyway Netgalley.
Profile Image for Dina.
691 reviews2 followers
March 26, 2018
I couldn't figure out what about this book rubbed me the wrong way until after I finished it.

The (incredibly patronizing) author really doesn't have a clue.

There were parts that resonated and made sense, but the author kept going on and on about how she shunned female friendships her whole life, how she looked down on women who had "squads," and how she was more of a "man's girl" and related to men more than to women. Then one day, she meets a girl in her office that (*GASP*) likes beer and yoga like she does! What? Women like geeky things? And not all women like pink and sparkles and glitter?


I might have been reading this too closely, but I think she came off as incredibly condescending and entitled. She spent the whole first third of the book talking about how she never had time for female friendships with all the ballet classes, pledging for sororities, dating guys, gossiping, drinking, dating guys, picking up guys, scouting for guys...And then wondering why other women in her life didn't invite her to sleepovers.

It wasn't even a "research-y" book. All she seemed to do is interview a handful of people about how they met their best friends, and then watched whatever was on TV that day and commented on the female relationships that were being portrayed. I will be publishing my socio-economical analysis of the ABC show 'Once Upon a Time' any day now.
Profile Image for Jen.
110 reviews17 followers
April 2, 2018
I wanted to like this book but I just.... didn’t. It was too chatty, anecdotal, heavy on pop culture references and felt very specific to young, white privileged middle or upper middle class women’s experiences. I don’t know, I’m not sure what I wanted from this book but I didn’t get it. Like, obviously female friendship is extremely powerful and rewarding and my best friend is basically like my life partner but this book didn’t really illuminate anything for me and I just didn’t care for the style or treatment of the topic. This should have been a 500 hundred word blog post that I still would have skimmed the regretted clicking the link on twitter.

I just don’t know who the audience is for this book. Dudes? Women who brag that they don’t have any female friends? Aliens from another planet? My two female cats that hate each other? Read if you want confirmation of what you already know and have spare time on your hands I guess. Or, better yet, spend the time you would have used to read this and call up your best friend to catch up because that is a better use of your time!
Profile Image for Erica.
1,333 reviews436 followers
February 14, 2019
Hello, and welcome to my latest longass bitchy tirade. Pour yourself some tea and we'll get started.

I'm not going to say anything that hasn't been said in all the other one- and two-star reviews but I really want to complain about this book so I'm simply going to repeat everything else those other reviewers have already said only with more pictures.

Let's begin with the blurb for this title. It says:
Text Me When You Get Home is a personal and sociological perspective - and ultimately a celebration - of the evolution of the modern female friendship.

It is not actually a sociological perspective of modern female friendship but is definitely a personal celebration of one woman's understanding of female friendship, specifically through the lens of pop culture.
What I read was the story of a woman who, as a child, had girl friends but never best friends and by the time high school came about, only had the group of friends that harbored her from the slings and arrows of high school cruelty simply due to safety in numbers. She went on to assume it was impossible to be friends with girls so she made friends with guys and had no girlfriends or best friends until she wised up and found her friend set and they're all in love and everything is lovely. Also, media shows us that there are no healthy female friendships but we shouldn't listen to them because she is living proof that #squads exist and you need one.
And that's fine. However, I was led to believe this was going to be something else entirely.

My biggest complaint about this book is that Schaefer forgoes an in-depth exploration of a complex system and, instead, gently polishes the surface to a shine. She waxes poetic about the meaning and purpose of female friendship and often sees the landscape in black and white, introducing set-in-stone societal beliefs of friendship and then affirming or rebutting those beliefs.
For instance, she cautions against assuming that, nowadays, "girls are mean," which is a prevalent belief in today's American communities.
But is it? Are there studies out there that show that if you ask a typical American, "What do you think of girls?" most respondents say, "They're mean?"
She uses anecdotal evidence to prove that we used to think of girls as sweet and nice but now we tend to think of girls as cruel and catty. She doesn't go into WHY people may think that beyond having been informed by books and movies - there's no discussion about systemic misogyny, no examination of patriarchy and power dynamics and whose portrayal of social norms are the most heeded - nor does she look into WHY girls may seem mean - for instance, from an incel's perspective, females are The Worst when, in reality, they're not. Who is perpetuating the whole idea? At any rate, this new emergence of Mean Girls is why so many women don't have or want female friends. But if we just stop assuming girls are mean, then we can bypass that myth and become better friends with other women. This is something she firmly believes - GIRLS AREN'T MEAN, they're just portrayed that way in our modern age.
But, honestly, this isn't even a new thing, mean girls have always existed.

Mean girls DO exist and I think we need to see them and read about them to know how to deal with them when we run into them so I disagree that deleting them from our lexicon, from our media streams, from our awareness is a productive way to make friends.

She also gently derides male/female friendships.

She doesn't go on to explain why, specifically, men and women can't be friends beyond the brief "You find other women threatening," but, if she did break it down, it would probably sound something like this. At any rate, she had a group of male friends but she came to realize she existed as a support prop for them and they didn't offer her much beyond the feeling of being special for being their token girl friend. Therefore, women cannot have deep, meaningful friendships with men, not like they can with fellow women.
 photo Aprilface_zps654069ed.jpg

Is she willfully naïve? Or just being coy?
On pages 72-73, she talks about joining a sorority because her high school's Queen Bee, a term she asked us to stop using in the Mean Girls chapter and then uses here, was rushing. She also joined to build her professional network. She did NOT rush, she insists, to meet guys. In fact, she didn't even understand that the guy she was dating wanted to make sure that the sororities she was considering mixed with the fraternity to which he was pledging because he needed know whether or not they'd still be able to date. She just didn't understand that fraternities and sororities pair up even though she's clearly watched all the movies and shows about this. Later, she expresses how foolish she was to think the sorority girls who were soooo excited to see her were truly excited to see her during rush. Again, despite being socially trained by Hollywood, if not by the women in her family circles, she didn't understand how this all works.
She goes on to say she quit the sorority after two years because she met a guy and didn't need to look for a boyfriend anymore (she wasn't in it to meet guys, though!) and he didn't like the Greek system anyway. She hadn't made any friends in the sorority so she still hasn't made any female friends since childhood, when she states, in regard to this new romantic relationship of hers, ...we didn't completely isolate ourselves, like some starry-eyed new couples do. I'm sure we did this to some degree, but I had friends who weren't in my sorority whom I thought were awesome and was conscious of not shutting them out.

sooo wait, she...did have friends? That she met in college?

I did a lot of eyerolling at her un-self-aware stories.

This is not just a compilation of her experiences, though. She shares the insights of many, many women who value female friendship. The bulk of these women are white and under 35, many in their 20's. It also sounds like they're successful, well-educated, and probably upper middle class. I'm going to go out on a limb and also assume most of them are not limited by any disabilities and aren't queer and are probably not marginalized in any other way than that which comes from being perceived as a woman.
Her cultural references reflect the same thing. She talks about mainly white women who have been portrayed as friends in media. Laverne and Shirley. Lucy and Ethel. All the other white girls on "Friends" and any other white girls you can think of who have played friends on TV. She does give a shout out to Oprah and Gayle and I think I remember her saying something about The Joy Luck Club but that's pretty much all you get for women of color. Don't go looking for Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. You're not going to find Serena Williams discussing her friends. Oh, wait, she does also mention Sandra Oh's character in "Grey's Anatomy," so...maybe I'm wrong in thinking there's a preponderance of young white ladies referenced in this tome.

One chapter is about female friendgroups (#squads). In explaining how former Teen Vogue EIC, Elaine Welterorth worried the 2015 Taylor Swift #squad could potentially alienate young women because it was too perfect, too manufactured, the author responds with
I understand this, but I also think these pictures were an important start in seeing groups of women in a different way. The users of #squadgoals in 2015 were starting an image shift. They were capturing and highlighting friendships they were proud of as they were going through life together. Anything on Instagram is a little bit perfected, but the emotion behind the photos didn't feel airbrushed.

I would argue the opposite. The whole thing smacked of PR and marketing. Friendship doesn't always look like #squadgoals, though it certainly can. #squadgoals, however, always looked like women who were in freshman dorm or summer camp together finding out they liked each other and showing their enthusiasm for their unit to the world. It lacked a sense of permanence, focusing solely on youth and exuberance and exciting moments.
Also, don't argue with the Teen Vogue EIC because you'll just be wrong.
And, come on. Those Instagram shots were not creating an image shift. They're no different from all the advertising campaigns that show women having fun together.
I mean, look at these #squadgoals:

Forget your Red Hat Society with your purple-wearing ways, this is how I want to be (in, like, five years)

These women in bras and matching undies have more diversity than this entire book.

Women who bleed together...

...wear a lot of blue together. Apparently.

They work hard and they play harder! Because they have good insurance.

Even generic stock images show how much fun it is to be friends with other women.

So, no. Healthy female friendship has not been kept from our eyes. I have no doubt you could find plenty more images like these to bolster this statement.

Not mentioned were other female friendships that young white girls could have been exposed to, such as Nancy Drew and her friends, George and Bess, or Trixie Belden and her friend Honey. Or those that young women may have been exposed to in their Women's Studies classes in college. For this author, though, there's a dearth of female friendship being portrayed before the 1980's.

Source: Pinterest
Description: Two young Italian women dressed in colorful gowns for the carnival by Elisabeth Anna Maria Jerichau-Baumann on artnet.

Source: Pinterest
Description: "On the Dunes' (Lady Shannon and Kitty) Sir James Jebusa Shannon Anglo-American artist and one of the leading portrait painters in London. Oil on canvas Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Bitch, please, if this isn't Ride or Die, I don't know what is.
Source: smarthistory
Description: Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1620-21, oil on canvas, 162.5 x 199 cm (Uffizi Gallery, Florence).

She ties everything up, after going on for many chapters about how positive representations of friendship between women have never existed historically, with Hundreds of years ago, there was a period when women's friends were supposed to be as valued as the other people in their worlds. In England in the nineteenth century, women were expected to keep their friends close, both before and after they married...

(who, by the way, also has a best friend and that friendship, melodrama aside, is far more complex than most everything portrayed in this book)

You'll note there are two stars up there, rather than the -1 I'm making it sound like this deserves. That's because I did honestly enjoy the chapter "Our BFFs, People, & Soulmates." Perhaps it was because this chapter focused mainly on other women's stories or maybe because it was the only chapter I could relate to; whatever the case, I appreciated this one a lot. I even sent a text-shot to my own BFF (we call each other soulmates) It sparked a good, and maybe a bit weepy, conversation which I think is what this book was meant to do. I wish the whole thing could have evoked such a response in me.

So to sum up: This is a book written by a woman who is dazzled by her glorious friendships with fellow women especially in light of not being brought up with strong examples of positive female friendship, though she will enumerate some of the non-existent examples that had been available at the time. She makes broad, blanket statements about how we, the people, view female friendships - toxic, unnecessary, temporary - then repeats a message of how much she loves her friends because of what they give to her. Plus feminism. The end.

Shoutout to my GRBFF, karen: We're already light years ahead in this game and we haven't even met.

If you're looking for a lovely memoir outlining the joys of one woman's personal friendships and the connections she has made with friendship images in the media and if you enjoy contradictions, this is your book.
Otherwise, I cannot recommend it.
Profile Image for Danielle H.
317 reviews17 followers
March 2, 2018
I feel it's appropriate to say that I texted one of my friends while reading, "I am legit holding back tears reading this book at work because a girl's best friend died and I can't process the idea of you being dead". She is a person I text when I get home. There are so many more of her and I am so incredibly lucky to have all of these women in my life who support me and love me and get me and let me tell them in so many ways, "Let's keep talking". Would really recommend to anyone who has ever loved a lady friend.
35 reviews
February 18, 2018
I wanted to like this book, but I was hoping for something well-researched and thoughtful. Instead I found it repetitive and sophomoric. I returned after the second chapter, which focused on, of all things, the movie Beaches. I would not have thought this movie worthy of more than a paragraph, but she spends a CHAPTER on it, recounting the plot, how it differs from the book, and actor/actress reminiscences of its making. She claims that there are no movies about female friendship, and no literature on female friendship (not true), and never substantiates/supports the claim except through personal anecdote. One entire chapter covers letters of Julia Child to a woman who she feels must be Child's friend, she admits that every letter focuses on the development of Childs book (Mastering the art of french cooking). From what she shared, it seems clear to me that the letter exchanges are professional, not personal and there is no evidence of a friendship. It DOES NOT SUPPORT THE THESIS but she spends a chapter guessing that although there is nothing in the letters to suggest they are friends, she thinks they must be. Anecdote after anecdote, an odd reference to GREAT books like All the Single Ladies by Barbara Traister, but in the end, it reads like a senior thesis that a prof would have given a "C" for inadequate research.

If you aren't looking for serious treatment of this topic and just want a chatty, anecdotal book, you might enjoy this book. I was disappointed.
Profile Image for Katie.
157 reviews28 followers
June 12, 2018
I enjoyed Text Me When You Get Home, but I also wanted it to go deeper. At times, it felt more like a memoir than a nonfiction piece exploring female friendship. Often some of the most compelling arguments Kathleen Schaefer presented were quotes from other people's works. For instance, I immediately went out and bought All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister after reading the excerpt Schaefer chose to include.

I think positive female friendship is an incredible worthy subject to dissect and discuss, so I was disappointed that Text Me When You Get Home only scratched the surface. I felt like Schaefer would quickly list positive female relationships in pop culture without going on to further analyze them or the effect they had on our greater society. In conclusion, I just wanted MORE.

On the positive side, Text Me When You Get Home is a super light, easy, fast read. I powered through it in a day. Also, it made me think about all my amazing best friends the entire time I read it, which is a lovely experience.

Text Me When You Get Home is a good introduction to female friendship and feminism, but it certainly didn't challenging me or teach me anything I didn't already know. However, I am really looking forward to discussing it for my feminist book club.
Profile Image for Meredith B.  (readingwithmere).
235 reviews159 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
June 13, 2018

First, I hate not finishing books. I have the personality that I like to see something all the way through to the end but I just couldn't spend my time on this one. This was our June book club pick and I really wanted to like it but I just didn't.

This book is all about the female friendship and how it's evolved over time. Honestly, I think the biggest issue I had with this book is that it's simply not relate-able to me in the least. Do I have close female friends? Yes. Do I cherish their friendships? Yes. But I DON'T think they're more important than my marriage or my family relationships. I think ALL my relationships in my life are important and I balance them accordingly.

The book grabs excerpts from women who talk about their female friendships. Some say when they were younger and married that they just simply didn't have time and had to focus on their marriage. Do I think that's probably evolved? Yes, however if someone is a priority you will make time for them. Case and point.

I felt like I kept going in circles while reading this book and it was kind of the same story told differently over and over again.

Again, I love the girls who are close in my life and will always cherish their friendship. They're important but so are my other relationships. I just couldn't agree with the book in this way.
Profile Image for Miri.
165 reviews82 followers
April 15, 2018
I was really excited to read this because it’s such an important topic, but I quickly found myself disappointed. This book reads like a series of very long blog posts by a college freshman. (And if it were, I might’ve liked it more.) The writing just isn’t very good and seems unedited. It’s repetitive and full of tedious plot summaries of various movies and TV shows, along with overly specific details about what the author and her friends (or other women she interviews) do together. There’s even a moment when she interviews her former boss to get his take on what a Chill Girl she was when she worked there, and when she says (apparently in earnest) that she knew she was destined to be friends with another woman when she saw that they had the same credit card. Yikes.

The author tries to touch on things like race and interviews quite a few women of color about their particular experiences with finding friends and seeing (or not seeing) the importance of friendships among women of color recognized in the media. However, ultimately, I think the book suffers from the limits of the author’s white middle class Southern upbringing. There are cringeworthy moments like her statement that the 1960s is when ��women” started working outside the home, and the fact that she relegates 19th century romantic friendships and Boston marriages to just a few paragraphs in the conclusion that fail to mention that many of these probably WERE actually sexual and romantic relationships. The unique friendship dynamics of queer women aren’t discussed in the book at all, except that one of the interviewees happens to be a lesbian. Plus the author and many of the people quoted repeatedly do that infuriating straight-woman thing where they call friends “girlfriends.” Can’t we just have that term? Please?

Furthermore, the author frequently uses “sex” to mean “gender,” and gender essentialism and biological determinism are woven throughout the book. The author and many of her interviewees repeatedly state that men just “can’t” understand women the way that other women do as one of the reasons why friendships between women are so important. This is simply false. How this narrative impacts trans women and their friendships is also not discussed.

Overall, not what I hoped for at all and way too memoir-ish for my taste, but I’m glad it was written and published because hopefully that’ll pave the way for better treatments of this subject.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
Author 57 books569 followers
February 13, 2018
Perfect Galentine’s Day reading! This book makes you want to grab your gal gang and hug them hard. Female friendship is a force and I don’t know where I’d be without the ladies in my life. I love how this book celebrates everything that female friendship is and the love we have for one another. As Keira Knightley put it, ‘Female friendships are fucking extraordinary.’
Profile Image for Ylenia.
1,055 reviews387 followers
April 14, 2020
This book was a 288 pages long version of a BuzzFeed article on friendship. Actually, BuzzFeed was often mentioned in the book itself.
This book was a white, middle-class account on having friends during your twenties or thirties.

The author somehow realized she was talking about white people too much and remembered to mention intersectional feminism before the end of the book but I think she completely forgot that trans people exists, too.

Oh I'm sure all the women who lived together for years during the 1950s were JUST friends. I'm positive all the quotes you've found about women saying they "loved" each other in letters in the 1800s were just saying it as friends. Yeah, sure.

I wanted to read this book to understand WHY and HOW female friendships are important (how they evolved during the time, how we can make a difference, etc.). I got none of that.
I just got endless examples and stories that sounded similar, with different names. The amount of references to TV shows or movies... ugh.
Profile Image for Barbara (The Bibliophage).
1,086 reviews148 followers
June 15, 2018
Kayleen Schaefer explores twenty-first century female friendships with gusto in Text Me When You Get Home. Like a great coffee date with your bestie, it’s the perfect blend of research, analysis, and real-life stories. By the end I was eyeing up that woman in the next lane and thinking, “I wonder what we have in common besides swimming?”

Text Me When You Get Home is a tribute and celebration of being a woman today, from work friendships to the fifth grade BFF that we still call every day.

Schaefer talks about why female friendships are different now than they were fifty years ago. It used to be that when women married and had kids, they moved away from their female friends. They would befriend the mothers of their kids friends, rather than continuing to see the singleton friend from their career days. Now, with the blurring of lines between home, parenting, marriage, and career, women expect to prioritize female friends higher than before.

In pop culture, the female friendship has evolved also. Schaefer discusses TV shows and movies as illustrations of how women connect. From Grey’s Anatomy and Legally Blonde, to Lena Dunham’s Girls, women are making sure friendship is rendered accurately in the media. Schaefer discusses the past predominance of “cat fights” in shows like Dynasty, and the efforts actresses and writers make today to offer a more positive portrayal.

In an age where woman have many more ways to connect, Schaefer points out how our digital ways affect friendships. She tells a story of a woman wishing for a particular group of friends. Instead of bemoaning the lack of the group, she started one herself using Meetup. Schaefer tells of her own efforts to stay connected to a friend in Australia.

More than anything, I found myself remembering two close friends I don’t see anymore. We “broke up” over ten years ago and haven’t seen each other since. We were in our thirties and forties at the time, so this wasn’t teen angst. Both experiences were as traumatic for me as breaking up with a boyfriend.

Schaefer has insight on the progression from the movie Heathers to today’s Mean Girls, and whether that’s an accurate portrayal. But I wish Schaefer would have acknowledged that adult women don’t always stay friends, and the end of that friendship isn’t always pretty. She paints a summarily rosy perspective, which I think is only one side of the story.

My conclusions:
This was a terrific, easy-to-read nonfiction book. If you’re a woman struggling to connect to nonfiction, give it a try. Schaefer makes Text Me When You Get Home accessible, interesting, and eminently relatable. Many times I found myself thinking, “Yes! I’ve felt that way.” It made me regret the friendships I haven’t nurtured, and appreciating the friends who forgive my distractions.

If you’ve got a good friend who likes to read, this is a great one to read together. You’ll find plenty of ideas to discuss, and probably end up with a deeper appreciation of your friendship along the way.

Thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Group Dutton, and the author for the opportunity to read the digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.
Profile Image for Simone.
1,443 reviews45 followers
March 12, 2018
I had really high hopes for this book and I was so looking forward to reading it. I think it was a case of the subtitle overselling whatever the book was attempting to do. Instead, the book reminded me a lot of Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies and not in a good way?

For one, she seemingly implies that female friendships didn't exist before the 1980s, or maybe the 1950s? Or at least she starts the book talking about how women in her mother's generation didn't have female friends. She interviews two other people about this, Judy Blume, one other person, and reads the transatlantic letters Julia Child and one of her friends sent back and forth to each other? This is apparently enough for her to include that female friendship didn't exist during this time period, which seems like quite a claim.

Perhaps it's because I went to an all women's college, or because my mother is passionate about the history of Greek letter organizations, and I belong to one of those organizations myself, but I think that the strong, close, female friendships Schafer is interested in existed before 1950, even if they weren't communicating via text message. Perhaps the "modern" in the subtitle gives her a reason to pretend they didn't exist and lets her off the hook from investigating them. (Don't get me started on the chapter about joining a sorority, not trying to make friends, assuming everyone else is just there to meet boys, then drop out said sorority once she meets a boyfriend.)

For another, she basically strings random anecdotes from her life, coupled with a discussion of television shows that prove her point. These seem to exist to give her a reason to talk to television show creators and writers? She just doesn't seem interested in talking to people who aren't already famous, have already written on the topic (so they are easy to find), or she isn't close friends with or related to. I mean, that's fine, but then you need to call this a memoir with some interviews. And I think cut the long oral history on Beaches.
Profile Image for Ed.
Author 43 books2,693 followers
February 24, 2020
I read this interesting title because I wanted a change of pace, and I'm curious about how people use texting in their daily lives. The broader theme is female friendships, both short term and long term. The author brings in a lot of pop culture references, including movies, books, and TV shows, some of which I've watched or read. She also discusses the close friendships in her own life. So, I gained some new insights and found her argument convincing.
Profile Image for Olivia Henry.
81 reviews2 followers
March 17, 2018
I really wanted to like this book. It just did nothing for me.

The impacts that my female friends have on my life are huge. For me, the type of relationships described in this book are vital. Here is the problem I have - so are ALL of my other relationship types. Whether it be my female friends, my family, male friends, or the relationship I have with the individual I am sharing my life with. I feel these are equally important and have all impacted my life largely & helped shape me as a human.
Schaefer paints this picture that as long as you have your girlfriends by your side, you are capable of being satisfied in all areas of your life. I could not disagree more. I think relationship variety is key.

I really wanted this book to outline the importance of female friendships, but in order to get her point across, she continues to bash every other relationship type throughout. Stating that if you have a solid enough foundation within your female friendships, there is absolutely no need for a passionate lover, sexual relationship, etc. Really? Why can’t we have both? There are so many examples given throughout of best friends being beyond jealous and unsupportive when their girlfriend finds a significant other. Its outrageous to me.

I also found her extremely contradictory. There is an argument that Schaefer tries to make regarding how women are not as catty as people lead us to believe (which I agree with), she says that the thought that a friendship would end due to 2 women crushing on the same male is outrageous & something you see only in the movies. I tended to agree, but in the NEXT chapter, she discusses how in college, she herself lost a good friend for going on a date with a male whom she knew her friend was interested in.
These examples continue throughout the whole story.

Not to mention, sometimes it is HARD to make friends! She makes it seems it’s as easy as “hi I’m a girl too, want to be best friends forever?” That is absolutely not the case, there has to be a common ground & level of interest.. sometimes it takes years to find people like you, and that’s OK!

Also, what was with the conclusion chapter? It was completely pointless and her examples devalued pretty much everything she argued up until then. Mostly examples of selfish women who have a hard time encouraging their “best friends” to move on and to big/better things with their lives.

I feel strongly of my dislike for this book because I feel the topic has great potential & I was excited to read about it. I imagine there is a lot of research to be done regarding the importance of female friendships, and can probably be done without bashing every other relationship.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for vanessa.
981 reviews150 followers
March 7, 2018
A mix of memoir (Schaefer's personal friendships as well as those of friends she knows), some discussions about recent friendships in pop culture (Parks & Rec, Insecure, Broad City, Big Little Lies), and some history/biology on female friendships. It was a charming book that related the importance of female friendships and made me think of my own friendships. There is nothing mind-blowing here though, but the audiobook was a nice listen.
Profile Image for Kathy Denker.
124 reviews1 follower
June 27, 2018
I'm not sure if my moments of enjoying the book were the text itself, or the opportunity to reflect on my friendships. The premise is solid, but I'm not sure it needed the length that it took.
Profile Image for Madalyn (Novel Ink).
495 reviews825 followers
May 22, 2018
*2.5 stars*

The premise of this book is excellent, but the execution felt one-note. It was all pretty surface-level stuff. Plus, even though it was published this year, it felt a little... dated? Like, some of the references weren't super relevant, and I think the way the author views female friendship is vastly different in some ways than the way my friends and I-- and other younger Millenials(TM)-- view it. For me, the book could have benefited from more structure, because the ideas felt disorganized, and the disjointed structure made it hard to discern what, exactly, the author's point was. Overall, this was disappointing.
Profile Image for Leigh Kramer.
Author 1 book1,182 followers
February 5, 2018
An examination of the importance of female friendship, Text Me When You Get Home is sure to inspire a reflection about the role of female friendship in your life. Part memoir and part social history, Schaefer's stories and illustrations show the many ways female friendship has evolved over the years.

"Text me when you get home" is a statement women use for many reasons. It's to make sure our friend is safe or because we want an update on the cute guy they met at the bar or because we simply don't want the conversation to end. The phrase grounds this work and offers a place for Schaefer to start her exploration.

The author and I have had drastically different experiences with friendship. The arc of Schaefer's story of how she came to appreciate female friendship is well worth reading. In the second chapter, she examines the prevalence of the myth of mean girls, a myth she bought into. I never thought girls were mean- I thought there were kids who are mean. While I wouldn’t want to repeat junior high or high school, reading about Schaefer's experiences made me even more grateful for the friends I had back then. I lucked out.

In fact, I've lucked out regarding female friendship throughout my life. While my local community hasn't always been as big as I've wanted, I have always, always had at least a few close friends. As I've grown older, I've stayed connected to a large number of friends, not only across the US but around the world. So often I'd finish reading a chapter and be awash with gratitude for the women in my life. Don't be surprised if you feel a deep need to call or text your friends to tell them how wonderful they are.

The release of Text Me When You Get Home could not be more timely. As I read my advance copy, the #MeToo movement had started to emerge and it made for quite the backdrop to my reading experience. The book illustrated the many ways women look out for one another and support each other.

The book offers mostly the perspective of white straight women and this is a missed opportunity. I did appreciate Schaefer's examination of class and how this affects the way we approach friendship. The history of friendship over the ages could have been more in-depth but if you're not aware of the history, as say presented in Bachelor Girl or All The Single Ladies, it's a good place to start.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the way pop culture factored in. For instance, we learn the history of Galentine's Day, which was created on Parks & Rec and has become an actual holiday women celebrate in the years since. That was such a good show. Just thinking about Leslie and Ann's friendship makes me happy.

I hadn't thought about the way friendship was presented on shows like Golden Girls or Designing Women—this made me appreciate even more how groundbreaking they were— or how they paved the way for shows like Girlfriends and Sex and the City.

I'm really glad I read this. My female friends mean so much to me and I hope there will continue to be more discussion about and appreciation of the importance of friendship.

Disclosure: I received an advance review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Marjorie Elwood.
1,111 reviews23 followers
October 22, 2018
This started out promisingly, celebrating the benefits of friendships between women and the love and affection that women can have for each other. “Our friendships – the ones we’re living every day – can stand on their own. They are supportive, enthralling, entirely wonderful, and, often, all we need.” Schaefer relates her personal history of female friendships and also discusses – using mostly pop culture examples – the history of friendships between women.

Where things got a little problematic for me was the author’s assumption that the pop culture portrayal of women as mean and competitive is true, as opposed to a construct created to sell TV shows and movies. “There’s a sense, among women at least, that achievement is a zero-sum game, and that we’re supposed to be cutthroat at all times.” If this is true, then it’s a world I don’t live in, fortunately. As a result, much of the book felt like a defense – rather than a celebration – of female friendships.

Then there were the chapters that talked about the focus placed on men and male activities, where women are written about only as it pertains to their relationship with men, or how we spend our time watching boys/men do things instead of doing things ourselves. While making a good point, spending as much time on it as she did felt as though we were focusing on males yet again, even in a book about female friendship.

It is in the description of her personal relationships that Schaefer shines: she captures the energy of an all-girlfriend gathering and the love and support that we receive from our friendships with other women.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
181 reviews23 followers
January 14, 2018
Rarely in recent memory have I had such strong feelings about a book, both positive and negative. While reading, I kept texting a friend of mine to tell her about the various anecdotes and stories laid out in this book, sometimes in frustration, and sometimes in joy. If nothing else, this book is compelling.

The author, Kayleen Schaefer, does an excellent job of weaving her own memories and stories of her friends in with an exploration of female friendship in the 20th century (although shoehorned in at the end is a discussion of 19th century Boston marriages, which I feel deserved more attention and context). Starting with her time in high school as a "mean girl," Schaefer describes her journey from internalized misogyny to recognizing the importance and criticality of women in her adult life, which was a nicely explored storyline and did culminate in the close group of friends she now has. She ties in interviews with women she has known throughout her life, including her high school "Queen Bee," her mother, and her current best friend, as well as media examples, such as the movie Mean Girls and the book it was based on.

We also examine her first job in the professional world, which was at Details magazine. I found it interesting to see the perspective of a woman who worked at a men's magazine because she despised the frivolous content of women's magazine's, only to later realize her hypocrisy at writing articles about the same kinds of things she thought were frivolous when about women. Slowly, Schaefer overcomes her internalized misogyny and begins forging friendships intentionally, recognizing how important they are to her. The book does stumble here at times, taking much too long on some things and not enough on others, but there's a lot of good information tied in with Schaefer's anecdotes.

However, I found the second half of the book, which focuses more on other women's experiences and media examples of friendships, much more compelling than the first. Here, Schaefer starts doing what I had hoped this book would do from the beginning, which is posit a new way to situate friendship within our society. Instead of earlier in the book, when she and her friends would go to bars specifically to meet men or would date the same man and fight about it, this section actually starts to push the boundaries of heteronormativity, and challenges the notion that romantic relationships take precedence over friendships. The anecdotes from women whose best friends are their emergency contacts, the ones who got them through chemo, or their true "soulmates" over their romantic partners were absolutely the best part of this book. The notion that your "best friend" should also be the person you marry is deconstructed, and that is to Schaefer's credit- I think that notion is unhealthy and it's wonderful to see it challenged here.

However, this book struggles in two areas; diversity and heteronormativity. When exploring why women psychologically need friends, Schaefer cites a study that suggests women are psychologically wired to nurture, which made me cringe. Evolutionary psychology really shouldn't have had a place in this book. I would much more interested in a historical contextualization of women working together as a community, and how that idea has changed over time post-industrial era. In addition, there was very little challenging of heteronormativity here, including a shockingly small mention of the LGBTQ community, who have traditionally been at the front of the found family concept. Where was a mention of The L Word, which revolves around a group of female friends just like Sex and the City? Even when discussing a straight and lesbian best friend pairing, little exploration was done into the context, which was surprising.

Most of the sources in this book are also about white women, which was glaringly obvious. There are about 10 pages towards the end that incorporate a number of more diverse media sources, but the bulk of this book deals with white women- in fact, in the conclusion section when Shaefer is tying up all her loose ends, the only women quoted are white women. This was a glaring oversight and a little unfortunate. More historical context about non-white female communities would have been a nice addition.

Overall, this was a book I am very glad that I read. There is a lot contained in it, but at times I think Schaefer could have gone a little further with her analysis. It is a very timely and important book, however, and one I'm so glad was published. It made me realize how lucky I am to have all the women in my life that I do, both past and present, and recognize that the "all-in-one" family idea is perhaps no longer relevant for our time. Instead, we all need a group of female friends who will text us when they get home.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erin.
55 reviews9 followers
July 4, 2018
This a blog series. This is a woman who did exactly the kind of shallow research that a journalist would do.

What is this meant to be? Is it a memoir? No, not really, although we hear allllll about Schaefer's sorority days, her boyfriend, and her friends she watches Scandal with. I'm pretty sure that at least 65% of the sources quoted in here are her friends, too. This is augmented by some stunningly ahistorical research that is mainly about pop culture (Beaches, Gone Girl, Mean Girls, Sex and the City, etc.) and is overwhelmingly white, straight, and middle class. The whole book fucking reeks of "no homo" and it comes off pretty disdainful.

There are some interesting bits, like even the comparison between the post-war generation of stay at home moms and 2nd wave feminism, or what friendship might have meant in the Middle Ages. The conclusion hints at a more engaging read, since somehow between the Middle Ages and the Edwardian/Victorian period women were suddenly expected to have close, abiding friendships with other women. Or how 21st century women might be renegotiating things like domestic partnerships, child rearing, and retirement. But no, instead we get recaps of 90s tv shows, shallow personal anecdotes, and endless (wo)man on the street quotes that add up to essentially nothing. Someone take this premise and write a better fucking book so I can read it.
Profile Image for Carey.
570 reviews50 followers
February 28, 2018
Pretty excellent meditation on female friendships and how they should be just as important as marriages and children and cats. I especially liked the early chapters that talked about being a young woman in high school and college and how a lot of us are taught that our female friends are just stand-ins while we wait for marriage. Oh holy hell, I was guilty of this. This book doesn't aim to bash marriage or say that friendships should replace it (if marriage is your jam), but it says that women are awesome and we should celebrate each other. If you're single and have special ladies - YASSSS! If you're paired up with a dude, you can have that dude *and* a lady bff, or a lady posse. Acknowledge, love, and respect your ride or die bitches. I wish I had had this book when I was younger. I kind of want to buy it for all of my lady friends now.
Profile Image for Roni Loren.
Author 46 books3,338 followers
April 23, 2021
Enjoyed this one so much. It will make you want to call your friends and will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling about how fantastic female friendships are.
Profile Image for Yels.
263 reviews31 followers
May 13, 2020
I wanted to like this book but sadly it missed the mark in so many ways. Text Me When You Get Home makes the argument that female friendships are not just important but vital to women. While I agree with this point of view, the book started to bother me around 25%. I loved that Schaefer starts but showcasing that female generations before us did not have many friends since the emphasis was on the nuclear family but fails to recognize that this might just apply to certain races, socioeconomic bracket, and culture. I have read other books that make this point beautifully...I didn't read it here.

Schaefer makes the argument that women realize pretty late in the game how important other women are in each others lives. I personally have 3 close friends that I consider my people and lowkey wondering how I can tell one of them that we should buy houses within a few blocks of each other. It is WILD to me that Schaefer did not realize this until she started to work. Granted, we all realize things at different paces but the book come off so condescending as if women haven't been relying on each other for emotional support for centuries.

The popculture references were a lot. Some were lost on me since I haven't seen many 90's romcoms or shows such as Friends. I have no idea how Schaefer was able to focus on ONE movie for an entire chapter to make her point across. Props to her, I guess. The whole book was tragically heteronormative and like why? Also, can we please STOP referring to Lena Dunham as the leader of the feminist movement? Please for the love of everything good and holy, find new people. If you want to read about peak white feminism...this is the book for you.

Also, shitting on women who want to get married and/or actively dating in hopes of marriage is gross af. Taking CHOICES away from women just because YOU deem it less than is not a good look.
Profile Image for Elaine.
186 reviews10 followers
October 22, 2020
Disappointing read given the promising title and synopsis of this book. Very surface-level collection of anecdotes largely revolving around white popular culture and the author's personal experiences. I kind of chuckle at her attempts to bring in race:
1. her rebuttal to a widespread complaint about a Texas sorority being overly white - "sororities were just very white back then"
2. thinking that quoting a couple of women of color about their female friendships would do the trick
3. acknowledging that there is a lack of media representation of female POC... but no actual stance taken on backing this point??

Other than that, I would have also liked a deeper dive into conflict in female friendships, or any semblance of critical thinking. Instead, what I mostly got were ra-ra depictions of the author deigning to speak to women at her firm (she originally worked at a men's magazine, putting down women's publications as frivolous) or self-congratulatory tales of success in female friendships by gathering women to drink wine and watch reality tv.
Profile Image for Michelle.
50 reviews11 followers
March 7, 2018
I won this book in a raffle and read it quickly. I like the premise of this book (YES to female friendships!) but it was a huge missed opportunity to go much deeper in many parts. I feel like more than half of it is a recap of movies and TV shows (many of which are very white and I have not seen so it was wholly unrelateable), with the other half personal anecdotes. It is very repetitive, and could have been condensed to a longform think piece. This book is good to introduce the "concept" of female friendships to people who haven't thought about this in a deeper way before, and in that way, it is important as an introduction. If you already know why your female friends are important to you, and if you're looking for a greater analysis of female friendship and solidarity, I would skip this book.
Profile Image for Chessa.
721 reviews58 followers
May 31, 2018
4.5 stars but I’m rounding up.

I loved this so much - I teared up approximately 9,347 times, and for someone who hates feelings, this is a lot and I still loved it.

Though the author does a good job of showcasing women of color in the pop culture friendships she highlights, I worry a little about calling this a book about modern female friendship - it feels just a little bit too broad, especially since the author draws on her own experience so much. I really liked that she did draw on her own experience, but the fact that she is a white woman universalizing her experience feels a bit...weird.

Despite that caveat, I did so enjoy this book. One of my favorite reads of the year so far.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,025 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.