[Calhoun's] research offers women ways to look at but not devalue their own experiences; she addresses the fact that women often minimize their own struggles instead of recognizing how their lack of sleep, along with other physical and mental pressures, constitute legitimate crises in their own right ... Calhoun’s latest will be useful for those interested in feminist theory, especially insofar as it intersects with age and class, as well as a useful resource for people struggling to find balance in their personal and professional lives.
... grew out of an article for O Magazine that went viral, so perhaps it’s facile to say that it reads like a book that grew out of an article ... The results of this format are mixed. Some statistics feel cherry-picked or just hard to prove, and at times, as in the chapter on perimenopause, being Gen X, being female and being middle-aged seem to get conflated. By contrast, the economic and labor statistics are both convincing and sobering ... Calhoun’s essential premise is highly persuasive. I know a lot of women with seemingly enviable professional and personal lives who aren’t happy and secretly worry they’re doing everything wrong ... If at some point the book began exacerbating my own sleeplessness as much as explaining it, there are pleasures to be had in the familiar pop cultural references and the darkly amusing anecdotes ... Ultimately, however, so many women appear that they blur together ... I wished Calhoun had included fewer women’s stories but gone into those stories in greater detail.
The book makes a powerful argument to Gen X women ... Calhoun speaks directly to her own generation, peppering the book with so many specific cultural touchstones, from the Challenger explosion to Koosh balls to the slime-filled TV show 'Double Dare,' that I found reading Why We Can’t Sleep to be a singular experience — driving home her point that Gen X is so often overlooked.