Book Review of Diplomatic Baggage by Brigid Keenan

Diplomatic Baggage by Brigid Keenan is a popular travel memoir.  It will help you to understand the human psychology and condition of living in a foreign land and the process of adaptation to the unique cultural aspects and socio-economic conditions of various countries which the author has found herself during postings of her diplomat spouse. 

The story is written in the style of a narrative, like sitting down with a friend who tells you all these fascinating stories and adventures in relation to her travels and life in various countries around the world.  Diplomatic Baggage is the story of a newly married wife, who never found stability in her life due to constant relocation whenever her diplomat husband is posted to different countries in a cycle that occurs every four years. 

Through this book, Brigid Keenan shares the remarkable experience of her life, and at times, makes a parody of it.  An immense number of funny incidents take place as the story moves on that keep the reader captivated with her story.  She explains how uncomfortable she actually felt while flying and how she managed to deal with different kinds of dinners; formal, informal, official, unofficial, personal, etc. Her experiences with bad roads, relentless fear regarding mudslides and earthquakes definitely help the reader to get a little taste of how we react and adapt to different kinds of external stimuli and new, unfamiliar environments.  

The traveling experience explained through this book is quite a rollercoaster ride.  She details her experience of life from a diverse range of countries and cultures such as Brussels, Syria, India and the Republic of Kazakhstan.  It is one of the popular travel books available these days because it gives a good overview of the cultural aspects of different nations from a firsthand account of someone who lived in those countries for some time. 

It is a good read for those who wish to know how life is like in exotic surroundings and the challenges involved in bridging the cultural gap. The book also has valuable insights that can help you in adapting to life in a foreign land should you find yourself in a similar situation.  For instance, her husband has been supportive and has been helpful to her in numerous ways during the whole experience.  It clearly shows that if there is definite support from the side of your loved ones, it will not be hard for you to endure and cope with the disruptions caused by having to uproot and relocate every 4 years. 

While going through this travel memoir, we can easily observe that in many cases things never went the way the author anticipated and she comes out with a completely different picture in her memory. 

If you are fond of reading popular books that are dedicated to the travel memoir genre then Diplomatic Baggage by Brigid Keenan will be a very good choice for you.  It provides us a spellbinding picture of the temples, souks, mosques, and different types of trade markets in various parts of the world.  It is truly worth reading for those who are away from their home and like to adapt to their new home and make the most of the experience of living in a foreign land and its unique culture. 

2011 Moira G Gallaga©

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