MixedThe Washington PostDoyle...plucks hideous stories, real and fictional, from different eras and tries to connect them to the condition of modern women, with varying levels of success ... Doyle pulls from literature, film, history, current events and poetry (entirely too often), writing with such flair you almost don’t notice how tenuous these connections are ... her analysis of real-life exorcisms...misses the mark ... I don’t know why Doyle spends significant time mining irrelevant history and literature when so much present-day fodder gets glancing treatment ... Doyle is much stronger when she gets contemporary, especially about film ... She’s also particularly sharp when discussing the current fascination with true crime as depicted in film and podcasts, a phenomenon that has come under some criticism for glamorizing killers or erasing victims, many of whom are women ... But throughout the book, when I wasn’t nodding along in agreement, I was often raising my eyebrows at her assertions ... It feels almost mean-spirited to quibble too much with Doyle’s book, which is more cri de coeur than rigorous study. But Doyle displays too much sharp thinking and wit elsewhere in Dead Blondes to let her off the hook for the weaker parts.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"Her book is not, however, a treatise on public housing, labor or welfare policy. Land is an expert in her own story, and she wisely sticks to it ... There are no jaunts to colorful destinations to eat, pray or love; no suspenseful moments on the Pacific Crest Trail to keep the narrative moving along. Not much actually happens in Maid except a lot of brutal hours scrubbing appalling bathrooms and some truly bleak scenes of relational discord. Yet the book, with its unfussy prose and clear voice, holds you ... Land doesn’t indulge in diatribes or bog the pages down with obligatory data. She sticks with small details that show the cost of being poor ... [Maid is] one woman’s story of inching out of the dirt and how the middle class turns a blind eye to the poverty lurking just a few rungs below — and it’s one worth reading.\
PositiveThe Washington PostThough not particularly political and written before #MeToo, the work feels fresh. In the face of near-daily revelations about high-ranking men who treat women as disposable, Schaefer shows how stabilizing and joyful it can be to connect to another woman. The book isn’t perfect. Schaefer weighs it down with her own biography ... But there’s plenty of good, too ... Where Text Me When You Get Home proves liveliest is in tracing how popular culture has treated female friends and how the current cultural landscape is more hospitable than ever to the concept.