Primates of Park Avenue

  • by Wednesday Martin
  • Narrated by Madeleine Maby
  • 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Like an urban Dian Fossey, Wednesday Martin decodes the primate social behaviors of Upper East Side mothers in a brilliantly original and witty memoir about her adventures assimilating into that most secretive and elite tribe.
After marrying a man from the Upper East Side and moving to the neighborhood, Wednesday Martin struggled to fit in. Drawing on her background in anthropology and primatology, she tried looking at her new world through that lens, and suddenly things fell into place. She understood the other mothers' snobbiness at school drop-off when she compared them to olive baboons. Her obsessional quest for a Hermes Birkin handbag made sense when she realized other females wielded them to establish dominance in their troop. And so she analyzed tribal migration patterns; display rituals; physical adornment, mutilation, and mating practices; extra-pair copulation; and more. Her conclusions are smart, thought provoking, and hilariously unexpected.
Every city has its Upper East Side, and in Wednesday's memoir listeners everywhere will recognize the strange cultural codes of powerful social hierarchies and the compelling desire to climb them. They will also see that Upper East Side mothers want the same things for their children that all mothers want - safety, happiness, and success - and not even sky-high penthouses and chauffeured SUVs can protect this ecologically released tribe from the universal experiences of anxiety and loss. When Wednesday's life turns upside down, she learns how deep the bonds of female friendship really are.
Intelligent, funny, and heartfelt, Primates of Park Avenue lifts a veil on a secret, elite world within a world - the exotic, fascinating, and strangely familiar culture of privileged Manhattan motherhood.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Feels like girl talk

This book was exactly what I needed for a quick, summer vacation listen. She is not an anthropologist, but tells you in the end the extent of her anthropology background. The book opens on each story and topic as if it were a research paper, but it's not really like that at all so don't be afraid or disappointed. It's a book about a woman's life that feels like girl talk when you need a girlfriend who's willing to sit down and analyze your first world problems. Other reviews claim she's whiny, which concerned me because I didn't want to listen to a spineless wimp, but I found that the author's problems relatable and honest. Clearly, if you don't waste time relating to other people's feelings this book is not for you. If you dive into this book, though, you'll enjoy it like a good conversation with your girlfriends. Don't expect a life changing story or big, triumphant happy ending. Do expect some laughs, some sadness, some "screw her" moments, some interesting stories on other people's lives.
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- Elle

Narration like an automaton

Oh, the narration ... I just couldn't listen - tried to analyze what made me nuts, and decided that the combination of over-enunciation, monotonous modulation, and emphasis on wrong words in a sentence pretty much amounted to the eery conclusion that it was being "read" by a robot. Think female H.A.L. from "2001 - A Space Odyssey"

Really need to get the book however, because it does seem worth a read.
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- Layne DC

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-02-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio