We’ve Never Had a King – Guests of the State by Brad and Mary Bradbury

Title: We’ve Never Had a King – Guests of the State

Author: Brad and Mary Bradbury

Date: 2010

Publisher: Outskirts Press

We’ve Never Had a King is a memoir of collected stories and experiences of Brad and Mary Bradbury and the life they shared overseas while Brad was an adviser to the Oil Ministry in the 1950’s era Kingdom of Iraq. Mostly anecdotal and charming in places, the book covers Brad and Mary’s young married life and the difficulties, experiences, and aha moments of living abroad in what is an emerging nation.

While the book has moments of funny almost irreverent stories and vignettes there are also long pauses of mundane stories that add little to the book. It is difficult to tell what is the point of the book as it is rather eclectic and discombobulated as on one page there is a story about churches and on the next gift giving and dog castration. The book would benefit from a good developmental edit where the pieces of stories are tied by theme or function. While not a bad read it is definitely one that takes time to plow through despite the short succinct narrative. The reader will find themselves trying to make sense of the ebb and flow of the stories.  Charming in places, informative of the life of ex-pats in Iraq during the 1950’s, the book is not bad, it just feels like a rough draft craving a revision to connect the dots.


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