Expat Book Review: Diplomatic Baggage

diplomaticbaggage

Diplomatic Baggage, The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse, describes the trials and tribulations of Brigid Keenan, a young fashion journalist who falls in love with a diplomat and finds herself traveling the world as the wife of a diplomat. Thirty years on she asks herself if she made the right decision.

If you have spent time living overseas as a trailing spouse there is plenty of material in this book for you to relate to. Be it the sudden feelings of loneliness you can experience when your partner goes to work and you realize you’re in a strange city on your own for the first time: “Today is my first Monday, the day that every wife of a man working abroad most dreads; the day your husband goes to the office and you have to face your new life alone.” Or, the difficulties of living with domestic help that you are accustomed to: “I bolted up here to the attic [away from the maids] to avoid looking purposeless in front of them, or worst of all, bursting into tears.” The book is packed full of the scenarios, feelings and experiences that all too often underline life as a trailing spouse.

However, to enjoy this book you do not necessarily need to be a trailing spouse. Anyone is interested in living overseas would benefit from the insights Brigid offers into the realities of life abroad, many of which are presented in a manner that is both entertaining and realistic. A true expat, the author has lived in interesting places throughout the world, including Nepal, Trinidad, India, Syria and Kazakhstan.

The life experiences she describes are by no means sugar coated and if readers should expect a large dose of reality. However, those who want an insight into the realities of life as a trailing spouse, albeit one who experiences the finer side of life as the wife of a diplomat, should not miss this particular book.

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