Primates of Park Avenue

Wednesday Martin
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Oct 31, 2015

Seen through the lens of an anthropologist, the women who inhabit the Upper East Side of New York City appear to be a strange tribe with outrageous rituals, beliefs, and attitudes.

In this memoir by Wednesday Martin, we watch as she, along with her husband and young child, journey from lower to upper Manhattan – a trip that is negligible geography-wise and enormous socially and culturally.

As she undertakes the highly stressful search for the right apartment and preschool, Martin realizes what a foreign land she has moved to. It is from within this unique and exclusive enclave that Martin, “going native”, as she calls it, begins to understand why the women around her behave as they do.

Martin - who has worked as a social researcher in New York City and been a regular contributor to the New York Post’s parenting and lifestyle pages - decides to use her research skills to objectively observe the women in her new environment. It doesn’t take long, however, before she finds herself exhibiting the same behavior as her “subjects”.

While the women’s appearance – clothes and fitness – are described and analyzed, it is primarily these women as mothers that is of most interest to Wednesday. After being ignored, “charged”, and a playdate pariah, a shared experience unique to mothers finally enables Martin to connect on a deeper level with the mothers around her.

At times hilarious, other times tragic, and sometimes just plain mystifying, Primates of Park Avenue explores the lives of the Upper East Side women in all their peerless glory.

Reviewed by Diane H.
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