1 In life

July Book Club: Primates of Park Avenue


Is it just me, or do you crave lighter reading in the summertime? I love a good beach read, and sometimes even find myself interested in picking up a novel when July and August roll around. So I thought this month we’d do something less life-improvement/minimalist-oriented and more entertaining. And since a lot of us take vacations over the summer, I wanted to be sure to share my book pick sooner rather than later unless you’re heading out of town and need a good read to bring with you :)

I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of Wednesday Martin’s new book Primates of Park Avenue—and I think you will be too after reading this description from Amazon…

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, readers 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.

What do you think? Will you read along with me this month?

P.S. Looking for more reading ideas? Here’s a collection of books I’ve read and loved for your summer reading pleasure.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Elise Holland
    July 23, 2015 at 6:40 am

    This sounds delightful! Thanks for the suggestion!

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