Books

Diplomatic Baggage – Brigid Keenan

This book is generally pitched as being a travel memoir. Of which I would agree that it is, but it also covers family life and coping with it – many women find themselves in this position when they follow their husbands through their work. In this case the author Brigid Keenan, is following her diplomatic husband around the world from posting to posting. We see how she copes with very different cultures, bringing up two children in differing places and being the diplomat’s wife. All when communication with ‘back home’ is difficult and you are left in a house on a Monday morning, with staff that speak no English and don’t understand your fascination with wanting the electric to work. 

My mind did wander a bit whilst reading about a lot of the political situations she encountered abroad especially in the Middle East , I was not expecting so much of it in this book. I did think it would be a bit more about the domestic side of life as a diplomat’s wife. That said I did laugh out loud at points, more to do with the way the author has written her exploits down than anything else.

The author is a journalist and this comes across throughout the book. She refers to her struggle to be recognised as such and when she is at events as they are unfolding, none of her work gets published back home. I found this a bit strange, but put it down to in the main being a fashion editor as opposed to a hard nosed news journalist. Someone obviously felt that she could not possibly have anything interesting to say. Actually she does and the reminiscences of many of the places are dotted with wit and humour and if for a moment I envied her and felt she was moaning just too much, the constant upheaval every couple of years to start again would have me running for the hills and I am glad I was reading about it and not actually doing it.

A book, that for me you can pick up and put down as you want to read it. Enjoyable but not a must read.

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