Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin

I heard about this book when it made a small fuss for possibly not being as accurate as it claims to be. Plus, it was a gossipy look at high society, and after the tranwreck that is "Everybody Rise", I was hoping for a more sensible look at how the American rich lived. What better than a memoir written through the lens of an anthropologist?

Primates of Park Avenue is about Wednesday Martins, who moves to Upper East Side and discovers a whole new world. The women here look like they have it all, and they probably spend a ton to get the look too. Plus, the community really is a jungle, with people judging your status and adjusting your interactions accordingly. 

Let's start with the annoying thing: The 'fieldnotes' stuff was annoying. I didn't really get the short sections that acted as though the author was so separate from these people - just cut to the gossipy parts of wanting to fit in (and whether she fails or succeeds). Thankfully, this only comprised a small part of the book.

And now, the good part of this book: it is much, much less annoying than Everybody Rise. Yes, Wednesday Martin longs to fit in, just like the protagonist in Everybody Rise, but I find that she's more honest about it. Plus, she was entertaining to me. I didn't even feel that she was whiny, but then again, I did finish a book with a very whiny main character. So, your mileage may vary. 

Plus, I liked that she occasionally tried to get to the root of the situation, such as the reasons why the world is so strictly segregated by gender (although I do wonder how she met that influential Alpha dad if almost all events were segregated. I guess that was one of the rare mixed events?).

The ending was quite touching (not including the last chapter, which returns to the light-hearted tone that most of the book uses). It was actually the best part of the book, because it showed the moms of Upper East Side breaking out of the mould that the author had put them in for most of the book. If the book was like this, a more balanced view, it would have been excellent. As it is, it's a gossipy book that may or may not be accurate. 

No comments :

Post a Comment

I really do appreciate all comments, and I'll try my best to reply within 24 hours!