Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: Primates of Park Avenue

Primates of Park Avenue

Admittedly, the big Amazon Prime day was pretty much a womp womp. But, I did manage to take advantage of the savings and get an Amazon Kindle Fire HD (<--affiliate link). I've always been the type of person that was loyal to paper books and even get joy out of browsing through a library. However, you can't argue with the convenience of ebooks. I was so excited to download my first book and was not disappointed! Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir is a winner!

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin

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, mating practices, extra-pair copulation, and more. Her conclusions are smart, thought-provoking, and hilariously unexpected. (via Goodreads) Follow me @brittanydeskins! 


"In changing childhood, we have changed motherhood as well, until it is virtually unrecognizable compared with what it used to be, and what it is elsewhere." 

"having too many choices is stressful. Facing more than three or four options increases negative effects such as regret, heightened expectations, and disappointment." 

"Many of the women I knew suffered from the strange, culturally specific anxiety of being extensions and reflections of others. In this sense, even their identities, their very selves, were not precisely or entirely their own." 

My take-aways:

I really enjoyed this book. But I couldn't help but be annoyed with Wednesday Martin at times. Admittedly, part of her experiment was to "go native" and embrace the culture. But it was like she was trying to straddle the line too much. For example, she would go on and criticize these women around her for their materialism and obsessions but she herself ends up lavishing in most of these luxuries as well. It's hard for me to take your preaching serious when you live in a luxury East Side apartment, document your struggles with buying a Birkin bag, and obsess about sending your kids to the nicest preschools. 

The most interesting part of this book to me was the anthropological comparisons that Wednesday Martin uses. It's so fascinating to learn that some of the phenomenons humans display are very similar to other species, especially primates. This book is so much more than just chick lit! 

Unfortunately, we can never really escape mean girls. They exists in all walks and phases of life. Wednesday documents how she feels ostracized by these high society women. It's so disheartening to think that even as we age women are still competing with another over often petty things. Can't we all just be friends and support each other?

The most striking theme of the book for me was the concept of mo money mo problems is certainly true. The women in this book have everything they could ever want in terms of financial security. Yet, their anxiety and stress levels are through the roof. 

Have you read this book? What did you think?


  1. I've heard mixed things about this book but I am going to put it on my list!

  2. This sounds a lot like the Bravo show Odd Mom Out. I wonder if it's based off this book. I've never even heard of this but I'm intrigued. I think I'll check it out. Thanks!

  3. I've heard mixed reviews on this book and can't decide if I want to put it on my to read list or not!

  4. I haven't heard about this book but I think I am going to add it to my list - It sounds like the new Bravo show Odd Mom Out which I enjoy

  5. Very interesting! I think I'll have to add it to my "to-read" list!

  6. Love the honest review! Going to add to my list!

  7. Glad you liked it! I've had it on my 'to read' list for a while now - so many great books to choose from right now!


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