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Vodka and Apple Juice

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  24 reviews
When Jay’s husband lands a diplomatic job in Warsaw, she jumps at the opportunity to escape her predictable life in Canberra for a three-year adventure in the heart of central Europe.

Jay shelves her corporate wardrobe and throws herself into life as a diplomatic wife. Between glamorous cocktail parties and ambassadorial shenanigans, Jay sets out to get to know quirky, diff
Paperback, 312 pages
Published September 1st 2018 by Fremantle Press
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Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, netgalley
3.5 stars
I enjoyed this travel memoir from Australian Jay Martin documenting her three year stay in Poland. Her husband Tom, who was Australian’s diplomat in Warsaw was supremely busy why Martin struggled with her years “not working”, traveling, learning Polish, and keeping their marriage together. Martin has a good sense of humor and this was a quick read. Recommended for travel and language lovers; Polish and Australians and diplomats.

Pub date Sept 1.
Wiola Myszkowska
Aug 10, 2018 added it
Shelves: 2018
As a reporter my job is to go, understand people I've met (try at least) and pass it further. Very often I deal with foreigners (therefore I know the feeling when You know that You don't know anything).
I couldn't wait to read similar book about my country and, well, myself. I couldn't wait for her to discover that beautiful absurdity of Poland which I really love (because in country like that there is always something to write about).
For the first part I was a bit disappointed that Mrs. Martin
Dec 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
She gave her dog away because she planned to live overseas for 3 years.
Straight away not my kind of person.
Literary Soirée
“Vodka and Apple Juice: Travels of an Undiplomatic Wife in Poland” by Jay Martin won the 2018 City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award for Best First Manuscript, deservedly. This engaging memoir recounts three years in the life of a “trailing spouse” who leaves the corporate Canberra world for a challenging stint as a diplomat’s wife in Europe. Written with great grace, candor and good humor. 5/5

Pub Date 01 Sep 2018

Thanks to Fremantle Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.

Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: polish, memoir, netgalley
As a Pole, it's always interesting to read about Poland through the eyes of a Westerner. I greatly enjoyed reading the author's reflections on being a diplomat and the Polish psyche; however, I found the portion of the book dealing with her relationship with her husband to be the weakest by far. The marital discord portions of the book were not interwoven into the whole particularly well, and I felt that storyline would have been better served by a separate book.
Chitra Ahanthem
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
*I received a galley from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Jay Martin’s Vodka and Apple Juice is more than just the author’s account as a diplomat’s non working wife in the Australian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland over a period of three years. While she recounts for us what it means to work in diplomatic circles: the punishing hours, the endless protocol and security snares juxtaposed with social events; there are the perks of getting travel opportunities but bringing with it, the after effects on
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this at first - I think it took a couple of chapters for Jay to find her voice. It was worth pushing through to watch the rest of the story unfold.

Jay and her husband Tom give up their comfortable public servant life in Canberra to pack up and move to Warsaw for three years, so Tom can live out his dream of being an Australian diplomat. The hours are long for him and the experience isolating for them both and puts a strain on their marriage.

Jay is the ideal expat. Rathe
Disclaimer: I messed up when I started this book. I didn't read the description carefully and didn't realize it was a memoir for about half of it (OOPS). That obviously changed my opinion of the book, since a memoir has its own kind of style and storytelling.

I found a lot of Martin's anecdotes about expat life amusing and relatable, especially in the beginning when she was still learning about the country and trying to figure things out. I lived in Italy for 4 months, so while definitely a diff
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A copy of this book was given to me via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Vodka and Apple Juice is the fun, fascinating memoir by Jay Martin, who lived in Poland for three years on a diplomatic posting from her native Australia. Now, I’ve never been particularly interested in Poland, per se, but having been an expat for a (very small) amount of time, I do have a thirst for expat memoirs, and this one really hit the spot.

Martin’s voice is friendly and easy, and the book itself, though M
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
It happened often lately to have on my reading list memoirs written by wives of diplomats, sharing their impressions, frustrations and challenges of their life abroad. Trying - often unsuccessfully - to cope with the liguistic barriers, the sadness of being taken away from their jobs and former social and family responsibilities, with their marriage in a limbo. Maybe it should be created soon a new literary category of 'diplomatic wives memoirs'. At least, they lived to tell the story and almost ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid 5 star read! Not in the sense of a generational lifetime classic, but certainly in the sense of a very well-written book about a situation most do not experience and how this author gets through it and comes out the other side. As someone who has considered moving to another country, albeit not in the diplomatic corps, I found Martin's tale to be entertaining, enlightening, and at times frightening and frustrating. Highly recommended. My thanks to the publisher and to #NetGalley ...more
Andressa Franca
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
As an expat myself, I find Jay's difficulties to learn polish particularly relatable. Even though I've been exposed to my target language since I was a child, there are many singularities that are comprehensible only if you've been surrounded by a language (and/or a culture) in every possible opportunity since ever.

Her insecurities are the same as for everyone who has tried or is still trying to learn another language:

"Then we'd moved to Poland, and so much of my ability to communicate had been
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books, arc, netgalley
Author Jay Martin documents her three years in Poland as an ambassodor’s Wife in this extremely detailed memoir. I definitely felt for her as she struggled to learn the language, familiarize herself with the city, and learn the customs of a new country. In addition to all of that, she had to attend formal events and support her husband, the Australian ambassador to Poland, in whatever ways that were required. She did all this after giving up her career, family, friends and dog in Australia.

Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this memoir. I have never been to Poland and the author's experiences were really interesting. I also was interested in her transition from having a successful career to being the supportive non-working spouse. Not sure how I would do in that role and her experience was very thought provoking.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book quite a lot! In fact, it was the best travel books I've read in a long time. When I read a travel book, I want something intelligent, interesting, a little adventurous, thoughtful but not too critical or controversial. This book hit the mark.

The book gave a realistic tour around the former Eastern Bloc country of Poland, along with side trips to Prague, London, and Kaliningrad. The author painted nice pictures of the charm of Poland, but she also offered a fair portrait of th
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well written memoir. Being born in Poland it was very nice to read about my home country. Entertaining and lightly humorous, it was hard to put down.
Moving to Poland for 3 years from Australia, this memoir shows all the struggles and victories of a wife of a diplomat.
Susan Kaplan
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an memoir by the wife of an Australian diplomat living as an expat in Warsaw, Poland. Determined to make the best of her three years abroad, Jay Martin tries to learn Polish (and becomes surprisingly fluent), and tries to make the most of her stay in this very foreign country. She makes friends with some unlikely other expat wives and learns how to make a very satisfying life for herself and her husband. When her marriage seems to be falling apart, she manages to bring it back from the b ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Vodka and Apple Juice by Jay Martin is her memoir of her three years she lived in Poland because her husband an Australian Diplomat was sent to live there. This book was an interesting look at a country that isn't usually touched upon in travel memoirs. I enjoyed this fact. I loved learning about life in Poland and reading how they felt in this country as well as their struggle to learn the Polish language. If you want a travel memoir about a country many overlook this is it. I loved reading abo ...more
D Jackson
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Poland is a country I have never visited but, having a number of Polish friends, and having partaken of the odd Vodka and Apple Juice or two, I was keen to read this.
Martin's style of writing is not one that encourages thigh-slapping merriment but it is an engaging and honest account of her life in Poland and .the characters she meets. My one regret from my reading is that I am now totally convinced I will never be able to learn the language but, adversely, I am more than ever determined to make
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite the dark moments when the marriage is under grave strain, this is a hugely enjoyable memoir of embassy life and an illuminating insight into Polish culture.

Recommended for expats, tourists and anyone who enjoys a good chuckle.

PS This MS was the first creative non-fiction manuscript to win the TAG Hungerford Award.

To see my review please visit
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This thoughtful and humorous memoir about an Australian couple who move to Warsaw, Poland is a quick and interesting read. Disclaimer: I'm probably biased as I know the author personally. However, I found it a well-written and entertaining account of Australian ex-pats adjusting to life in Poland, and adjusting to diplomatic circles for the first time. Besides giving a lot of insight into Poland, the Polish people, and the history of that area of Europe, it also deals with the struggles of being ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's probably half a star more than the writing deserves but I enjoyed this for the glimpse into Poland and the reality of life as a diplomatic spouse.
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