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Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir Paperback – May 31, 2016
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"Think privileged NYC wives are another species? Martin goes undercover in this dishy memoir and reminds us that we all have something in common." (Glamour)
"Amusing...incisive...a wryly entertaining guide to this rarefied subculture." (The Economist)
"Any population is fair game for anthropological research, so why not the super-rich, super-thin, and oh-so-well-dressed mothers of New York's Upper East Side?... Illuminating and fun." (BookPage)
"I absolutely loved this memoir and could not put it down! It's incredibly clever; Martin uses anthropology to analyze Upper East mothers, and it's astonishingly illuminating. Somehow, Martin manages to be caustically perceptive but also generous, funny, moving, and erudite all at the same time. This is one of the most fascinating books I've read in a long time." (Amy Chua, Yale Law Professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and The Triple Package)
About the Author
Wednesday Martin, PhD, has worked as writer and social researcher in New York City for more than two decades. The author of Stepmonster and Primates of Park Avenue, she has appeared on Today, CNN, NPR, NBC News, the BBC Newshour, and Fox News as an expert on step-parenting and parenting issues. She writes for the online edition of Psychology Today and her work has appeared in The New York Times. She was a regular contributor to New York Post’s parenting and lifestyle pages for several years and has written for The Daily Telegraph. Wednesday received her PhD from Yale University and lives in New York City with her husband and their two sons.
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Top Customer Reviews
The writer also tends to drive a subject into the ground. The Hermes bag episode goes on and on. Lady I get it you want an 18,000 dollar bag so you can eat lunch at the popular table. Pretty sad for a woman in her forties.
If your were a fan of the 'Nanny Diaries' like I was, this book will sure to be a disappointment.
(1) All the hype in the press basically revealed most content before publication, so when reading the book I felt like I had already read the material.
(2) There are not really any well-developed characters. It basically lumps these moms all together. For sure, they have different an interesting stories. I understand her not wanting to betray the trust of friends by revealing their stories. I would not either, but the book suffers because of it.
(3) I read the book in about 4 hours and with Kindle it's hard to get a sense of how long a book really is, but I didn't feel it was worth the money spent on it. Related to this, if I understand correctly, she lived with these people for six years. It seems like this book would have taken about 1-2 years to put together at most.
What she says does ring true. I attended an elite (top 4) New England boarding school and had a window into this world (many of the students were from wealthy NY families). Given that that was 20 years ago, I understand some things have changed (I found the very wealthy families were not as outwardly materialistic in terms of clothes and the like). But the social climbing aspect was huge and drove those on the lower rungs to do some pathetic things to try to get in with the queen bees. The kids themselves were somewhat removed from that, but the parents were bad. Now I live in an upper-middle class area with kids in private school and the moms are very similar to what she describes only scaled way, way down to local incomes. But it's the same thing about "Jake's mom", etc., rather than the name of the actual woman.
I think the author captures the culture accurately. It's just that there's relatively little content. The lack of content could be off set by some interesting personal stories, but those aren't there either.
Also I couldn't stop feeling like there was a lot of bragging and self-congratulation on her part. Like she felt she was "special " and uniquely entitled. She coyly wouldn't discuss what her husband does to afford this uber expensive lifestyle. I just felt talked down to a lot.