Primates of Park Avenue

A Memoir

Primates of Park Avenue

  • 1
An instant #1 New York Times bestseller, Primates of Park Avenue is an “amusing, perceptive and…deliciously evil” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir of the most secretive and elite tribe—Manhattan’s Upper East Side mothers.

When Wednesday Martin first arrives on New York City’s Upper East Side, she’s clueless about the right addresses, the right wardrobe, and the right schools, and she’s taken aback by the glamorous, sharp-elbowed mommies around her. She feels hazed and unwelcome until she begins to look at her new niche through the lens of her academic background in anthropology. As she analyzes the tribe’s mating and migration patterns, childrearing practices, fetish objects, physical adornment practices, magical purifying rituals, bonding rites, and odd realities like sex segregation, she finds it easier to fit in and even enjoy her new life. Then one day, Wednesday’s world is turned upside down, and she finds out there’s much more to the women who she’s secretly been calling Manhattan Geishas.

“Think Gossip Girl, but with a sociological study of the parents” (, Wednesday’s memoir is absolutely “eye-popping” (People). Primates of Park Avenue lifts a veil on a secret, elite world within a world—the strange, exotic, and utterly foreign and fascinating life of privileged Manhattan motherhood.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476762715 | 
  • May 2016
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Primates of Park Avenue includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with Wednesday Martin. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



Wednesday Martin’s new memoir, Primates of Park Avenue, is an inside look at the unexpectedly stressful and anxious lives of Manhattan’s most elite set: Upper East Side mommies.

The book follows Wednesday on her journey to join the “it” crew in Manhattan, and no detail—no matter how trivial or painful—is left out. We read about the feelings of exclusion and unhappiness Wednesday experiences as she learns to navigate the sometimes-cruel streets and female “friendships” west of Lexington Avenue. We hear about her epic quest to own an Hermès Birkin bag and about the cutthroat nature of preschool applications on the Upper East Side. Through it all, Wednesday straddles the line between subjective insider desperate to find a place for herself and her son and academically detached outsider using her background in anthropology and primatology to help make sense of her world, one she realizes might seem silly and unsympathetic from the outside see more

About the Author

Wednesday Martin
Photograph © 2015 by Elena Seibert

Wednesday Martin

Wednesday Martin, PhD, has worked as writer and social researcher in New York City for more than two decades. The author of Stepmonster and Primates of Park Avenue, she has appeared on Today, CNN, NPR, NBC News, the BBC Newshour, and Fox News as an expert on step-parenting and parenting issues. She writes for the online edition of Psychology Today and her work has appeared in The New York Times. She was a regular contributor to New York Post’s parenting and lifestyle pages for several years and has written for The Daily Telegraph. Wednesday received her PhD from Yale University and lives in New York City with her husband and their two sons.