The news is difficult to watch and listen to lately, and I’m valuing my friendships with strong women even more these days. Read on for my review of Kayleen Schaefer’s Text Me When You Get Home, which is all about female friendships and how they evolve as we go through life.
I’m interested in hearing your ideas on friendships with people of all genders. What is it that makes these bonds special, almost familial? And how have you seen them change through the years?
Title: Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship
Author: Kayleen Schaefer
Age Range/Genre: Adult nonfiction
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This review is also cross-posted to Goodreads.
This is a wonderful book, written by someone who clearly values female friendships. I found myself wanting to send friends passages of the book, looking for bookmarks to mark page, and thinking of friends to pass the book to when I finished.
I spent my late teens and early twenties being single, and in that time my female friendships became unbelievably important to me. (I also attended a women’s college that greatly emphasized that we can be allies and not enemies, and put great stock into the idea of a greater sisterhood, of a sort.) Sure, some in the group dated here and there, and then many of us slowly started settling down with partners, but our friendships are still strong, rooted in caring and love. Heck, I even heard about this book from one of my best friends—she saw the title and instantly thought of the two of us.
One of the messages of this book is that even when/if we partner up, our society no longer demands that our significant other becomes the only “other” in our lives. Schaefer writes in the conclusion:
“For so long I think, there’s been a tacit, depressing assumption that our friendships, unlike our other relationships, should be temporary. We’re made to believe that at some point we will have to distance ourselves from each other, whether to that’s to find romantic mates, raise children, assist elderly parents, or go after promotions. [. . .] But we’re pressing back on this notion. We’re caring for each other—loudly and continuously—for no other reason besides wanting to. We’re saying and showing: Our friends matter as much as our other attachments.”
I think this is a lovely thing. As much as I love my spouse, my life would be missing something without my friendships with other women, whether it’s my best friend from high school or my coworkers. With this is the idea that “best friend” isn’t always strong enough to show the depth of the relationship, as it can be very much based on a form of love, and the phrase can come off a bit glib. While I stop short of calling my best friends my “soul mates,” as some of the women interviewed for this book do, I understand the sentiment and do wish there was an in-between sort of phrase.
She also acknowledges that these friendships will change, not always for the better, as we get older. She deals with this possibility pragmatically, and in a way that doesn’t make the reader feel like a failure for not being able to maintain these friendships. This, in a way, was also reassuring, having lost touch with formerly good friends. Life happens, and that’s okay. I’ll hold onto and do my part to maintain the friendships I have, and know that not everyone needs to stick around forever.
In short, this is a beautiful book full of stories about love and friendship from women of all walks of life, and I want to tell everyone I know about it (and have them read it).