I first spotted the bright yellow letters on Schaefer’s Text Me When You Get Home in my local Barnes & Noble, and it piqued my curiosity. As an avid reader, I was surprised to encounter a nonfiction social science book about the evolution of female friendships and the rejection of stereotypes around female friendships, especially because I had never doubted the necessity of mine: they had always been in my life, and I knew that they always would be. When I was gifted Schaefer’s book for my birthday, I was more than excited to dive right in — I think I finished the book in less than two days! As a journalist, Kayleen Schaefer uses her investigative skills and interviews lots of best friends as well as her own friends and family, and manages to create an informative, captivating, and personal story that celebrates and validates strong female friendships.
The title of Text Me When You Get Home is an important one, and it never fails to make me smile; I always tell my friends that after spending time together, no matter what. Schaefer writes that it’s a way for women to say, “let’s keep talking”, and she’s right — as soon as I say bye to my friend, I’m already sending them a meme that made me think of them, or a stupid picture of myself on Snapchat. I care about my friends…they’re like my family. I know that a lot of other people can relate to this too, because a majority of us have learned that friendship isn’t superficial at all, but instead, it’s all about depth and connection. Schaefer also reflects on her upbringing, how she “wasn’t raised to rely on women,” the negative stereotypes that were built around female friendships, and how society pitted women against each other (whether it is vying for men, jobs, etc.). This wasn’t new information for me; when I was younger, I definitely felt in competition with other girls my age, and I constantly tried to differentiate myself with the mentality that I wasn’t ‘like the other girls,’ which, as I grew up, came to realize how outdated and ridiculous that was.
I appreciate that Schaefer is vulnerable and reflective on her own life because it makes the book have so much more depth. It is a perfect blend of facts and analyses as well as personal and raw thought, and the way that it ties in Schaefer’s own ‘coming-of-age’ (realizing that she needs friends to support, laugh, celebrate, and cry with her) with other women’s (whether they are researchers, authors, or best friends with a story to tell) stories makes Text Me When You Get Home engaging and relatable. I remember how much my heart soared when I finished reading it, and how much I urged everyone I knew to read it, because its narrative is so important and meaningful, especially as we grow and realize how much our friends actually matter.