Schaefer, a journalist by trade, interviewed more than 100 women about their own relationships with their best friends, mentors and girl squads in an effort to investigate the text-me trend through pop culture. The well-reported text struck a chord with me. Not since reading Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation have I so fervently recommended a book to friends.
The book's stories bring to life the ways the waning dominance of heterosexual marriage can leave space for a heartier form of friendship among women, relationships that fulfill many needs once thought to be the domain of husbands ... Though Schaefer's interview subjects aren't all of a hetero, lily-white set, urban professionals — especially writers — are overrepresented. She therefore misses out on stories that could illuminate what friendships look like in a state of economic insecurity, when friends might take on support roles we normally peg to families ... She includes a wide range of historical and cultural sources, but this would have been a stronger book had those choices been matched in scope by her interviews. Even with this oversight, Text Me still offers a sharp analysis of female friendship.
Though 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.
Much of Text Me When You Get Home traces the evolving representation of female friendships in Hollywood and popular culture...Unfortunately, Schaefer’s own portrayal of female friendship leaves a similarly celluloid taste, a composite of clichés of closeness — road trips, manicures, sleepovers — rather than the more textured and often fraught dynamics that define the deepest and most meaningful bonds between women ... the book’s repeated insistence on the ease and uncomplicated goodness of female friendship makes it feel both fictitious and unsettlingly dated. Schaefer’s idealized version of friendship makes its wholesomeness seem far less nuanced than it is in practice.
Though the author focuses mostly on bonds between white females, it is still a welcome reminder during a time of political backlash against women that females are continuing to insist on 'changing the rules themselves.' A hopeful celebration of women’s friendships.