Miri's Reviews > Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship

Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer
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Apr 15, 2018

it was ok
bookshelves: sociology-culture, gender-studies

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.
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Reading Progress

April 13, 2018 – Started Reading
April 13, 2018 – Shelved
April 15, 2018 – Finished Reading
July 30, 2018 – Shelved as: sociology-culture
July 30, 2018 – Shelved as: gender-studies

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