Controversial 'Primates of Park Avenue' Book Acquired by MGM (Exclusive)

Primates of Park Avenue Cover - P 2015
Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

Primates of Park Avenue Cover - P 2015

The "anthropological memoir" debuted at the top of bestseller lists.

The film rights to Primates of Park Avenue, Wednesday Martin's controversial book about wealthy Upper East Side women, have been acquired by MGM. 

The book sparked a bidding war with multiple bidders in the mix to pick up the memoir about the lives of rich young mothers in New York City. 

Primates, published by Simon & Schuster on June 2, attracted considerable pre-publication buzz off of a New York Times op-ed by Martin revealing that some of these East Sider one-percenter women said they received a "wife bonus," akin to the year-end bonus investment bankers get, for doing a good job running the household, getting the children into the right private school and being a good companion. 

The book was billed as an "anthropological memoir" by a "social researcher" and made much of the fact that Martin had a Ph.D. from Yale (though it is in comparative literature). 

The New York Post and others raised questions about the book's accuracy, particularly Martin's claim to have lived on the East Side for six years (versus the three years she actually lived there) and the timing of a miscarriage. 

In response, S&S announced it would add a note to future editions acknowledging, “It is a common narrative technique in memoirs for some names, identifying characteristics and chronologies to be adjusted or disguised." 

Even with the controversy, sales of the book have been strong. It debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times ebook bestseller list, No. 2 on the combined print/ebook list and No. 3 on the hardcover list. It has remained on Amazon's list of its top 100 selling books since it debuted. 

Martin was represented by UTA, Inkwell Management and the Miriam Altshuler Agency.