Book Review: My Gal Sunday by Mary Higgins Clark

I know what kind of books I like to read but I’ll read things that aren’t my usual preference. My Gal Sunday was one of these books. Mary Higgins Clark is a heavy hitting writer of popular fiction. Her books have graced airport shelves for decades and she’s sold a ridiculous number of copies. I wanted to read one of her novels to see what all the fuss was about, even if I knew it wasn’t exactly up my alley.

Despite trying to have an open mind, I couldn’t stand this book for a number of reasons. My Gal Sunday is a collection of four independent stories. Each story features the same characters; ‘Sunday,’ a recently elected congresswoman and her ex-president hunk of a husband, Henry Parker Britland IV. Yes, the main character’s name is Sunday. Heaven sent this pair down to earth in a gilded elevator and they’re pretty much perfect in every conceivable way.

He’s handsome, she’s beautiful, he’s charming, she’s adored, he’s brilliant, she’s a genius. He’s a well-loved ex-president, she’s a well-loved congresswoman. They’re so perfect that there’s a passage describing Britland’s hair as perfect. Their teeth are so white they’re blinding. They summer in paradise and ride in expensive cars. They’re kinder than everyone else, made of tough stuff, and definitely the most beautiful people in the room.

My biggest issue with this book is how flawless these characters are. They’re round characters with significant depth, but they lacked sincerity. People who never act on a negative impulse and personify the pinnacle of human existence don’t ring true. They’re competent, but too much so, and they’re kind, but too much so, and they’re sympathetic, but not in any realistic way.

My Gal Sunday is about two immaculate dolls, Ken and Barbie respectively (Sunday even has blonde hair) and follows them as they adventure around being better people than everyone else. Even when the situation should be tense, like when Sunday gets kidnapped, their absolute perfection outshines every other element in the narrative.

I think what makes these books so popular is an element of wish fulfillment fantasy. Most people aren’t in a perfect relationship. Most people aren’t flawlessly beautiful, or infallibly intelligent. Even skilled writers can’t weave witticisms into their conversations as seamlessly and effortlessly as Sunday and her hunky ex-president husband. After I finished reading this book I gave it to my Grandma and she loved it.

If you’re looking for a book about perfect people with perfect hair who are better than everyone else and possess no flaws whatsoever, My Gal Sunday is the book for you.

Image Credit: greenbuffalobooks

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