Friday, January 12, 2007

Lost Luggage

I received Diplomatic Baggage from a friend, who's a fellow JET and has lived in Japan and France. It seems like a good choice for a gift as it's Brigid Keenan chronicle of her life as a wife of a diplomat wandering about the world.

I've been reading this book, for over a month. I read some, get tired of Keene's tone, which is complaining yet cheerful, and put it down and often lose it. I'll find it again because I'm looking for something else and feel I should read it because, after all, it's not completely bad.

While she adopts a sort of "Bridget Jones-esque" tone it seems (I never read that book), I couldn't get past how awfully unhappy this woman is despite her wit and pluck. Keenan and her family lived in some "interesting" countries and conditions, like in Port of Spain, where the beds were surrounded by some kind of linked gates that were locked nightly in case one's gardener tried to slit one's throat because crime was so prevalent.

I understand that living overseas is not always a picnic and granted I've never lived in an undeveloped country where one has to be extra careful about crime and disease, but Keenan's problems with her servants and problems with being bored and having nothing to do on Monday, just bugged me. I can see why it would be hard to give up a career to follow a husband who has an interesting career and to move every couple years, but is it so hard to amuse one's self on a Monday morning? Must giving a dinner party be such a traumatizing event? Repeatedly? When the hostess doesn't have to make the food, her cook does?

Two thirds of the way through the book, I wanted Keenan to get more adept at the expat social scene and cross cultural life. I don't expect her to stop making mistakes, I'd just hope she'd make different mistakes and have different problems. Imagine watching a Bridget Jones IX, her klutziness loses it's charm as she gets older. Such a character or person just gets annoying.

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