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Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by…
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Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir

by Wednesday Martin

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Not for me.
Maybe I've watched too much "Real Housewives of New York." I was hoping for a dishy, entertaining, insider account (i.e, Nanny Diaries) of women with too much money and too much time, but this "memoir" (which has been factually disputed) seemed rather routine. And the anthropological-study perspective felt too clever and forced. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
One of my guilty pleasures is to watch 'scripted reality' shows such as the Real Housewives of New York. They are silly and frothy and pure entertainment. Stories such as Sex and the City have given a fictional insight into the tribes of women who live in New York but they are fictional or they are designed to shock. In this book Wednesday Martin takes a two-pronged approach - she wants to tell the true stories which illustrate the pressures that these women face to keep their place in society and she also wants to relate this behaviour to anthropological research.

In this respect the Primates of Park Avenue is very clever. Martin is a newcomer to the scene and wants to fit in despite herself. She has family to help progress and a social status as the wide of a successful man. However she is also intelligent and used to thinking and working. In negotiating the social mores she can relate this to parallels in the life of the primates as studied in the wild. That's why I love the book it manages to fuse the lowest pleasures that I cannot give up with the intelligent look from a sociological perspective. Entertainment and education, what could be better. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
I found this book to be surprisingly depressing. It was mildly entertaining as well but I really did take a break from it to listen to something a little more lighthearted.

Not being brought up with any real care for what people thought of me (never realizing I was supposed to care, because of the way I was brought up), I was surprised to what extent this author went to in order to just "fit in". That aspect of the book was so sad :-(

Adrianne ( )
  Adrianne_p | May 2, 2017 |
Many thanks to whoever recommended Primates of Park Avenue! I thoroughly enjoyed this "expose" dressed up as an anthropological study. I think it might be easy for us to sit back and say thank goodness we're not part of that culture, and I really couldn't identify with the desire to carry a $14,000 handbag or to snub someone on the street because she didn't. However, there were some things I definitely remember from my years of mommy-hood and I see even now as I watch my grandchildren grow -- the desire for them to go to the "best" schools, to be liked and included by their peers, to be the smartest and best behaved, etc. In those years it's hard not to feel like you're being judged on the basis of your child's accomplishments, and the PTA is certainly a hotbed of competitiveness for "Mommy of the Year" nearly anywhere you go. Still, the UES is a rarified, alien atmosphere for most of us, and it was fun to get a peek at it from an insider's perspective.
  NMBookClub | Sep 8, 2016 |
I finally got around to reading last summer's big beach read about a woman who moves to the Upper East Side of New York City and purports to study its female inhabitants as an anthropologist would study a primitive society in the Amazon rain forest. She tries to write from a detached and somewhat humorous point of view, but it really doesn't work because she so clearly wanted to be a part of it all. However I did enjoy the detailed discussion about Birkin bags, so I now (sort of) understand why they are so expensive.

A good read for a long plane flight. ( )
  etxgardener | Jun 25, 2016 |
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