Passport Diaries: A Novel

Passport Diaries: A Novel

by Tamara Gregory


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Kia Carson thinks she knows exactly what she wants in a relationship. As a child, she saw it every time she watched her father smell her mother's hair as her mother tenderly affixed his cuff links in the mornings before work, or when her father in loving return lightly tapped her mother's bottom as she walked away. But, despite her old-fashioned romantic notions, the best Kia can manage these days are booty calls with delectable but vacuous L.A. men.

At least she has her career. Her energy and idealism as an assistant D.A. have won her respect and admiration — and, in the case of Drew, a handsome, funny, and considerate white coworker, something much more. But before Drew can express his true feelings, a run-in with her boss gets Kia suspended from her job. Her best friend, Maya, suggests a European vacation to help get her head and heart together. Hesitant at first, Kia soon sees that nothing — or, more to the point, no one — is really keeping her in L.A., so she opts for the adventure of a lifetime. Kia packs up her things, inhales, then exhales, and finally takes flight — alone.

Passport Diaries is a wonderfully assured debut. Smart, original, and laugh-out-loud funny, it's an irresistible, lighthearted read. Gregory is a refreshing new voice and offers up a brightly told story with surprising reservoirs of depth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060789282
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/02/2006
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Tamara T. Gregory, a writer and producer, has worked in production and development for the Walt Disney Company, Hollywood Pictures, and Magic Johnson Entertainment. She lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Passport Diaries
Chapter One

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
— Yogi Berra, American athlete

I'm trying to breathe like I learned in yoga class. It's not working. I only went to yoga once and I hated it. I'm a firm believer that the try again adage is bullshit. You've got a fifty-fifty shot of ending up with the same result as you do of having a different one.

"Maya, this is a high-performance automobile. Make it perform,for God's sake."

The 5-series Benz we were rolling in might as well have been a go-cart. I should've left the house earlier. You're supposed to be at the airport two hours before an international flight. I've got an hour and ten minutes before takeoff and Maya is acting like she's the poster child for the Safe DrivingCouncil.

"I can't believe I'm going to miss my flight."

I put my head down on the dashboard and stare at my shoes. Tan Tod loafers. Ideal for traveling, completely wrong for just about anything else. I spot an orange Skittle lying on the black carpet. It's a cruel reminder that not only am I late, but I'm starving, too.

I lift my head just in time to see Maya making a crucial mistake.

"What are you doing? Don't get on the freeway. Take Airport Boulevard!" I'm yelling at her like she's a puppy that's peed on my Jimmy Choos.

She cuts her eyes at me but does as she is told.

"I'm sorry, but you can control more variables if you take surface streets."

"Kia, you need to calm down. You're not going to miss your flight ... "

She glances at her clock radio. It's 9:00 p.m. on the nose. My flight leaves at 10:05.

Mayacontinues, "But if you do miss it, it's not because of me. It was your vain behind that spent the last half-hour packing a toiletry bag! How many beauty products does one girl need?" If we were in a court of law, I would object. I admit to having a healthy amount of self-esteem. I mean, I do think I'm cute. Not Halle cute — more like that black girl who was on threeepisodes of Friends cute.

"I'm a lot of things, Maya, but obnoxiously vain is not one of them."

Maya gives me a motherly pat on the knee. "Oh, honey ... " she says all sugary-sweet, as only a Georgia peach can. "You haven't stopped looking at yourself in the mirror since we got in the car."

The truth of this statement didn't prevent me from noticing that taking one hand off the wheel has caused her to drive even slower. I try not to freak out about it as I look once more into the visor mirror.

"I'm trying to figure out who is this girl staring back at me."

I'd just had my hair corn-rolled, à la Alicia Keys, and I wasn't sure if I liked it. I also wasn't sure if people could tell. Could they tell that just a few short hours ago my whole world had been rocked? Could they tell that yesterday I was a hotshot lawyer on top of my game and today ... well, today ... in between my mani/pedi and my hair appointment, I was summonedto my boss's office and promptly suspended. I'm too embarrassed to talk about it right now. With anyone. It's just one more reason I have to make this flight. The further away I can get from my life the better.

Maya looks me over. "It's certainly a different look for you, but I think it's hot. What did Lorna say?"

Lorna is my mother. She's the quintessential black Stepford wife — perfect, but mouthy. Her hair is always done, dinner is always on the table, and she always has something to say about something.

"I breezed in long enough to grab her travel iron. She took one look at me and said if by some miracle I received an invitation to meet the Queen, I should decline."

Maya guffaws. "Classic."

I laugh along with her. Ouch! My head hurts. These braids are tight as a drum. Any drastic change in my facial expression causes shooting pain across the top of my scalp.

"And for the record, Maya, I was packed two days ago."

I'm one of the few Negroes who take pride in doing things ahead of schedule and openly admit to being a Maroon 5 groupie.

"I swear, Candy's triflin' ass. I sat there for forty-five minutes before she sent Coco over to wash me. If she would've started me on time ... "

There was no need to finish the thought. Every black woman has beauty-shop horror stories. It's our cross to bear. It's like going to church. We know we have to go, even when we don't feel like it. Afterwards, though, we feel like a different person, like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders. But,good God, why does it have to take so long? Does the pastor really have to take up two collections? Does the hairdresser really have to double-book appointments? Inquiring-minded people with a life really want to know.

Passport Diaries
. Copyright © by Tamara Gregory. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Trisha R. Thomas

“Romance, discovery, intrigue, a little taste of Sex in the City... Passport Diaries is the best trip of your life.”

Veronica Chambers

“This cool, bubbly romance is the next best thing to being upgraded to first class.”

Gabrielle Union

“Whether you’re sitting by the pool or ont he beach, it’s the perfect summer read. I couldn’t put it down.”

Lyah Beth LeFlore

“An irresistible can’t-put-it-down ride for every girl yearning for self-discovery!”

Travis Hunter

“Stunning debut...Sassy, sophisticated, and laugh-out-loud funny. Gregory is a fresh original voice full of style and grace.”

Customer Reviews

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Passport Diaries 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down. I was caught up. Great story. Great romance. Its like the author wrote for every single black woman out there without male bashing. I can't wait to get my passport stamped.
JazzyPen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Wanna get away?¿ That¿s what comes to mind after reading Passport Diaries by writer and movie producer, Tamara T. Gregory. This debut is truly a literary vacation¿ a quick getaway nestled between 256 pages. So get your passport ready and join Kia Carson as she travels internationally and takes bold steps toward self-discovery. She¿s destined to find herself and much more. Kia is an excellent prosecuting attorney who works for the DA¿s office. She¿s turning thirty-five in just a few short days and her love life is nothing more than a sex-only relationship with a photographer named Flash. After refusing to go for the jugular in court, her boss promptly suspends her. Needless to say, she¿s in desperate need of a vacation. Lucky for her, she and her sister will soon be on their way to Europe. That is, until her sister calls with the bad news that she can¿t go. Against Kia¿s better judgment and with the coaxing of her friend and coworker, Drew, she decides to go through with her vacation plans and take the trip solo. Drew¿s travel agent arranges a great package with three exciting destinations¿ Paris, London and Greece. Her trip starts off with a few bumps because she almost misses her plane and once she finally boards, she¿s an emotional train wreck when she realizes her seat is the one next to a mother with a crying baby and an extremely overweight man. A flight attendant takes pity on her and locates a much more comfortable seat and this begins an undoubtedly, unforgettable trip.With certain fears and trepidation left behind in Los Angeles, Kia embarks on experiences she normally would not consider. Without giving too much away, let¿s just say there¿s a kiss but not with a man, there¿s a topless beach and as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Oh, and Kia¿s not the only one with a passport, so she¿s in for a birthday surprise.Passport Diaries is a one-of-a-kind read. The witty humor and the first-person conversational style are definite crowd pleasers. The descriptions throughout are so vivid that you feel like you¿re not just reading about Kia and her adventures but you¿re right alongside her, visiting amazing museums, shopping at exquisite boutiques and eating veal and truffles. In addition, the author tosses in historical facts without over burdening the story and touches on various race relations issues and stereotypes; again, done in such away that it enhanced the storyline without hitting readers over the head. Lastly, this reviewer is not big on romances, but the romance element in the story was done very well. It was sensual without being sappy. Passport Diaries is everything you want a getaway to be. It¿s fun, relaxing, exciting and memorable. So what are you waiting for? Don¿t you wanna get away?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really hard to read. Ive had this book for about about 4 weeks and have not make it pass page 40. So, with that being said. If you need a night cap or just something to put you to sleep.......this is a must read. I promise its better than advil pm.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book for two reasons: 1- it had a plot and fun characters 2- I actually learned some things about international traveling. I felt like I was reading a letter from a girlfriend. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Need an escape without leaving town? Then this is the novel for you. Passport Diaries is a refreshing and witty tale that will make you want to pack your suitcase and jump on the next plane! This is an easy read that holds your attention as you follow the international antics of Kia Carson, the main character. If you're looking for a refreshing departure from the contemporary fiction norm, this is the book for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am definitely a fan. A delightful and refreshing love story. Perfect combination of romance and adventure. I totally fell in love with all the characters. I especially love how Kia embraced her journey of the unknown and ¿DREW¿, I want one. I¿m telling all my girlfriends to buy the book. Best novel I¿ve read in a year. Can't wait to read her next novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
FINALLY a writer creates a woman who I would be friends with. Too many times, the main characters of African American Chick lit novels are either filthy rich or unbearably ghetto. Here, Tamara Gregory has created a funny, interesting, flawed Black woman, Kia. Kia reluctantly takes a European vacation after having problems at work. While traveling through Paris, London and Greece, she opens herself to new life experiences and learns a great deal about her culture. I'm impressed with this writer. Looking forward to her next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fast summer girly read. No life lessons here to learn or sappy moment BUT it is fast and it gives you a break from reality. No one dies, or has a life altering disease, no sad stories here. Plenty of laugh out loud moments. The story is about an attorny that was just suspended and about to celebrate her 35th birthday all while going through a break up from her BOOTY CALL... So she sets off to Europe for 6 sixs. All in all she meets some fascinating people and some interesting experiences that allows her not to take life so seriously! I loved the ending because sometimes the girly girl in me puts down the jaded books and I need to break from reality and have things neatly tie out and life goes on HAPPILY EVER AFTER. It was cute, it was fun, and if you guys want to kills a few hours and just break from the norm and have a little bit of romance in a book then this is a good read.