Primates of Park Avenue

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I’ve gotta start this book review out by saying that I’m a sucker for a fly-on-the-wall observationist book. Having purchased this book in the airport as I departed JFK, I was bursting at the seams for a little insider info into what life must be like on the Upper East Side. Being a self-confessed stage 10 fan of the hit series Gossip Girl, I wanted to draw back the curtain and see what life was really like with a view of Central Park out your window.

This book did not disappoint.


Primates of Park Avenue Review

I knew before I handed the cash over to the bookstore lady that this would be one of those books you either love or you hate. Being from the ‘regular’ world (where my mum never wore heels or even had a strut), I bought this book out of sheer intrigue – no more, no less.

While it is easy for people to turn up their nose and shun this book for being unrealistic or the author being out of touch with reality (just read the Goodreads reviews), I will let you know now that I will make neither of these assertions. Instead; I loved the book. I loved getting a glimpse into ‘how the other half live‘ and I loved every painful description of how un-fabulous it all sounded from the get go.

For the past few years I have been given a glimpse of my own into ‘how the other half live’. The fancy hotels, the butlers to pack or unpack your suitcase and the white-gloved doormen are all a novelty to me. Every day is a new little insight into this life that I have never wholly or even in the most minuscule of measurements felt a part of. I have played along, pinkies up, and had a whole lot of fun along the way. But at the end of the day I have returned home to my little country house with my family, partner and our new puppy beside me to not just appreciate, but find what I have around me in those moments to be enough. All I need, I have. Anything else (travel, hotels, party invitations, a book deal!?!?) is just a bonus!

I suppose what I’m saying is that while I loved the book and the insight it gave into elevator-exit apartments and rigorous exercise classes, I’m more than happy with life in my own bubble: track pants, instant coffee and home-cooked meals all inclusive.

So, what did you think!?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Did you find this book insightful (whether you loved or hated it aside)?

  2. Would you ever uproot yourself and move to the Upper East Side if given the chance?

  3. Do you see yourself as a Soul Cycle or Ballet Class kinda gal (or guy!)

  4. Did you find many (if any) similarities between the book and the portrayal of the Upper East in Gossip Girl?

Over to you! What did you think of this month’s book club pick!?

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    Dubai escorts
    August 24, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I saw your book from your website i really appreciate you that you give us this kind of book i will read this book as soon.

    sophie nadeau
    August 4, 2016 at 12:04 am

    I’ve never heard of this book- will definitely be checking it out now though!!

    August 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I just requested this from the library. Call me an uncultured reader, but I never read these kinds of things for it being realistic. I love reading these kinds of books so I can daydream. Haha!

    the adventurer
    August 3, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I saw this was the book for July so I quickly went and added it to my kindle, now I’m about half way done and can’t put it down! I love the outside perspective and really insightful. Having watched gossip girl (two times all the way through so far and counting..) and being interested in the upper east side, this book was great to read. And I find myself as a ballet class kind of girl =o)

    August 3, 2016 at 7:07 am

    While I might not normally pick up a book about lifestyles of the wealthy and snooty, Martin’s anthropological style made this such an interesting read! All her references to animal behavior and psychology turned into an interesting study, a bit tongue-in-cheek yet sincere, as well. Insightful? Definitely, even though every thing I repeated to my boyfriend was taken as a “Why believe that woman?”

    No, I could never uproot myself and move to the East Side; and whether she intends to or not, Martin doesn’t give the reader much reason make that transition. Even after the loss of her child, the characters still come across as aloof and stodgy. And I’d much rather spend thousands a year traveling, than buying handbags and facials!

    Ballet class for me- but maybe that glossy, boring environment would send me to the dark side fast? And sadly, I’ve never seen more than 2 episodes of Gossip Girl….

    Thanks for the read!

    August 2, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I really should read that book