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Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse Paperback – March 1, 2007

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wonderful picaresque take on the travails of expat life…It made me cry from laughing."  —The Sunday Times

About the Author

Brigid Keenan has worked on Nova, edited sections of the Sunday Times and contributed a regular column to Punch and Sainsbury's Magazine. The author of four previous books, she is married to the EU's man in Brussels.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719567262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719567261
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By nonfictionfan on October 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
While seemingly self-deprecating, this author manages to insult every culture other than her own and paint a very clear picture of herself as a spoiled, prejudiced, ignorant woman.

The flagrant anti-Semitism is the worst aspect of the book, so prevalent I didn't want to finish except to see whether she'd redeem herself at all (nope), but all the troubles-with-the-incompetent-help anecdotes paint a very clear picture of an anachronistic, selfish woman who should definitely have stuck to her shopping.

The worst story of all: the day a woman flagged her car down because her husband was dying of a heart attack, and the author didn't take him to the hospital because his nose was running and that disgusted her.

The positive reviews excerpted in the book are all quotes from her friends and social circle who should have read it first. In sum: not worth the 1-cent used-book price.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amy on November 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was living overseas with my husband when I found this book. So, I was very excited to read something that was relevant to my own experience -- and maybe have a good laugh. Looking back, I kick myself for spending money on this book (especially the premium price charged for English language books in the country I was living). The author's observations and jokes are not only boring, but just plain dumb. After the story about trying to hire servants in India and discovering that one of the candidates had six fingers on one hand, which would make finding white gloves for him exceedingly difficult, I should have stopped reading. I kept thinking, "You lived in all of these wonderful, exciting places, and THIS is what you took away from the experience?!" Unfortunately, I chose to finish the book. It only got worse. Save yourself the pain.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Arion Potts on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loathed this book. I loathed this book so much that I binned it in the subway - with 20 minutes left to go in my journey.

It is a tale of a privileged Sloane Ranger 'trailing spouse' following her husband around various diplomatic postings. With a large income, plenty of idle time and the chance to explore highly varied cultures, the life of a trailing spouse should make a pretty interesting read. Instead, the reader gets page after page of whinging, loathing and misery. Enraged at the author's haughty tone and bleak portrait of life in Central Asia, I could feel my blood pressure rising in the subway. At the interchange, I shocked fellow travellers by loudly thumping it in the bin and storming away... to make the most of my day.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bronteophile on April 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I find the book has many laughs but it is also very annoying in its seemingly off-the-cuff political remarks. George Bush is of course the devil and Keenan never misses an opportunity to tell us how pro-Palestinian she is while displaying a very unappealing, old-fashioned, old school British (even though she says she's Irish) anti-Semitism. She loves Syria and disses "Jewish moneylenders." The fact that the fab crowd of England are used profusely in the blurbs to sell the book and their consensus is not only is this book hilarious, but also important, makes me think this smug silly attitude is acceptable in those circles. Makes one pause....
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kim on July 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Trailing Spouse to Egypt, this was a book recommended at an Inter-cultural training session that I attended.

I am glad I waited 2 years to read this book (I might have been terrified of the move) although I'm kicking myself for spending money on it, even though I got it at a discounted price on Amazon.

Why did I hate the book so much?

Except for the last chapter, the author was constantly whining and groaning about the hardships that life had tossed at her. This after choosing to marry her husband of her own free will, knowing the kind of job he did and loved that it would take him to obtuse corners of the world. It was a fully informed decision that she took. Even spending some days with him, in what she calls a "chicken shed" in Kathmandu before deciding to marry him.

She constantly whines about everything from the help, to the kids, to her husband, to location.... in short, she whines about -Everything.

The life of a Diplomatic Trailing Spouse is much easier than that of other Trailing Spouses. Accommodation, household help, office help, everything is put in place before the diplomatic family even arrives at their new location. Brigid's grouse is that some of the other European embassies provide more services to the spouses than her husband's European Commission ambassadors office does.

She promotes herself as a glamorous, successful young London fashion journalist, but later in the book accepts and acknowledges that her children were the worst dressed in their school.

I do not know Brigid personally, but what I read in this autobiography of hers, made me think of her as a spoiled, over indulged wife who can never find anything positive and good in life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
At first I thought it would be a really charming book but nope! After all it got kudos from one of my favorite actresses Joanna Lumley. Even Country Life Magazine praised the book by saying "Life with Brigid Keenan could never be boring." Wanna bet? I must confess I lost patience with this book rather quickly. It was insipid from the first chapter and does NOT get better! Quite frankly, I'm surprised her husband didn't leave her for one of those Russian gals. I think anyone who spends as much time crying and whining (especially after they've been a diplomat's wife for more than 10 years) is more than boring. They're absolutely TEDIOUS! I was tempted to skip ahead to the end of the book to see if she finally got a divorce since it's so clear she wasn't happy being a diplomat's wife...but then I thought oh, forget it. I'll just deep six the doggone book altogether and find something a lot more interesting to read by someone who is more open minded and intelligent instead of narrow minded and overly sensitive.
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