Delightful in its honesty, upbeat and gloriously irreverent you can share in the nightmare of life overseas without ever leaving your armchair, or remind yourself of your own disasters living in a foreign (to you) country.
This is not a book you would expect to be written by the wife of one of HMG Diplomats. The fact she has opened the door (a chink) on life in the Foreign Office overseas and is not currently in the Tower says a lot.
This is a woman who has faced head-on the quirky, often distasteful (literally) and sometimes crippling realities of living away from her home country. She does not flinch from faulty plumbing, homesickness or buying food in places left off the map, behind politically solid curtains or closed doors.
If you’re a trailing spouse (male or female) in the cause of diplomacy, oil or other spousal career this book will resonate deeply. From packing up and moving on – again – to being the one left behind, Cherry Denman has done it all and survived. She’s done it accepting life can be, and often is, pretty shitty, that there are times divorce is a viable option and some days living overseas doesn’t do it for you any more.
Her biggest strength is recognising these emotions as being part of the bigger picture, riding with them and coming out the other side. She finds humour in the absurdities, the differences and the downright weird but is always respectful of the community she finds herself in, and laughs most at herself.
What surprised me was how Cherry’s personality shines through every page, she’s seems less Superwoman and more Mrs Okay-this’ll-do. I appreciate this is an entertaining literary device but it’s far more refreshing to read about someone who spends her life winging it with the best of us rather than Mrs Super-Organised and Perfect.
I finished the book with a smile on my face wanting to call Cherry and thank her for brightening my day. She’s the kind of woman you’d want by your side in a tight spot and would probably know how to create something useful out of a roll of duct tape, a wire coat-hanger and some sticky backed plastic. She’s one of the last of a dying breed, the kind of woman behind the building of the empire.
Did I mention her illustrations throughout are pretty damn good too?
Diplomatic Incidents: The Memoirs of an (un)Diplomatic Wife Cherry Denman
Publisher: John Murray (13 May 2010)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 1848542410
- ISBN-13: 978-1848542419