'Primates of Park Avenue': Publisher Backtracks on Accuracy

Future editions of the book about the lives of rich women in New York City will include an explanatory note that some names and events in the book were "adjusted or disguised."
Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

Publishing is a jungle and the hot new book Primates of Park Avenue just got swatted by a bigger beast: The truth.

Simon & Schuster announced that it would add a note to future editions explaining that some details in the book about the lives of rich Upper East Side women were changed and the order of some events rearranged.

The book, billed as an “anthropological memoir” by a “social researcher" and written by Wednesday Martin, who has a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale and is married to a wealthy businessman, has attracted lots of attention for its look at the lives of the New York City’s one-percenters. Among the buzziest revelations was the “wife bonus” that some women got from their husbands for having a good year in terms of running the house, managing the kids and being a good companion. The bonuses were likened to the year-end bonuses Wall Street bankers collect.

Film and TV rights for the book have been drawing a lot of attention around Hollywood since the book was the subject of extensive coverage in the New York Times and other media in the week’s leading up to its June 2 publication. On June 7, when the statement was issued, it ranked at No. 26 on Amazon’s list of best-selling books.

In the statement Cary Goldstein, vice president and executive director of publicity at the publisher, said, “It is a common narrative technique in memoirs for some names, identifying characteristics and chronologies to be adjusted or disguised, and that is the case with Primates of Park Avenue. A clarifying note will be added to the e-book and to subsequent print editions.”

News of the clarifying note was first reported by The New York Times.

Questions about the book’s accuracy were raised by the New York Post and other publication. The Post noted that Martin lived on the Upper East Side for three years versus the six she claimed in the book, which raised questions about the chronology of events, specifically whether she had a miscarriage after moving to the West Side and not before.  

A representative for Martin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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