Text Me When You Get Home
The Evolution and Triumph of Female Friendship
By Kayleen Schaefer
Penguin Random House. 288 pp. $24
Reviewed by Hannah Wise
Sometimes a book finds you at the perfect moment. That's the only way I can describe stumbling on a tweet praising Kayleen Schaefer's Text Me When You Get Home. 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.
Women of my generation especially understand what it means when a friend says, "Text me when you get home." In six small words she is speaking volumes. She wants to make sure you are home safe, but she also wants to make sure you know the memories, witty banter, and love don't stop when you walk out the door.
This is not something men typically do after a night out with their bros. Why they don't eludes me and my X chromosomes, but I am glad my female friends are part of the text-me sisterhood.
Text Me When You Get Home offers an in-depth examination of female friendships, how we model them after our mothers', why the "mean girl" myth persists, and why you can feel more intimately connected to a lifelong best friend than to a romantic partner.
Schaefer did not always feel such a deep connection to her female friends.
"I wasn't raised to rely on women," she writes. "Men were supposed to be my heroes and my protectors. I grew up in a Texas town where the boys were football players and the girls were cheerleaders . . .. There was a general vibe that the guys were capable in a way the girls were not."
This is an all-too-familiar experience for many women. But we grow older. We reach our own potential and discover our strength. We make friends and find soul mates. The social narratives that we are princesses worth pining after, or mean girls out to break the others' crowns, no longer define us.
Schaefer, a journalist by trade, interviewed more than 100 women about their relationships with their best friends, mentors, and girl squads in an effort to investigate the text-me trend through pop culture.
In the last year, I've felt endlessly exhausted by too many dates with mediocre men and the harrowing, seemingly never-ending reports of harassment and worse. I've struggled watching one of my closest mentors move on to a job that was perfect for her in a newsroom halfway across the country. And, most recently, health setbacks have prompted more questions about womanhood and expectations to have children than I expected to consider at this age.
I've consciously turned my focus to lifting up and supporting other women in my personal and professional cohorts to counterbalance all of this chaos. But sometimes you need a reminder.
The Twitterverse led me to Schaefer's book at the time I needed it most. I cracked it open in the exam room at an the ob-gyn's office after a friend drove me to the appointment. I left the office with orders for surgery and a phone filled with texts from friends: "Text me when you get home."
This review originally appeared in the Dallas Morning News.