Wednesday Martin

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Wednesday Martin
Photo of Wednesday Martin.png
Born Wendy K. Martin
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Occupation Author, Cultural critic, Social researcher
Language English
Period 1995–
Genre memoir, social commentary, cultural criticism, biography
Notable works Primates of Park Avenue
Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do
Spouse Joel Moser

Wendy "Wednesday" Martin[1][2][3] is an American author and cultural critic[4] who writes on parenting, step-parenting, and popular culture. As of 2015, she is the author of three books: Marlene Dietrich, Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do, and Primates of Park Avenue. She has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, Harper's Bazaar,[5] The Daily Telegraph. She has also been a commentator on step-parenting, parenting, and motherhood.[6][7]


Martin was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan[8] and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[9] She did her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan where she studied anthropology[8][10] and received a doctorate in comparative literature and cultural studies from Yale University. Her doctoral work examined early psychoanalysis and anthropology.[11][12] Martin has taught literature and cultural studies at Yale, The New School, and Baruch College.[13][14]


Martin is the author of Marlene Dietrich,[15] Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do,[16] and Primates of Park Avenue.[17]

In May 2009, Martin's memoir about her experience as a stepmother called Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do was published.[16][18]

After Martin moved to the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan with her family in 2004, she began researching and documenting her experiences there for her next book, Primates of Park Avenue.[18][19] Simon & Schuster released the book in June 2015.[17][20] The memoir recounted Martin's experience living among the wealthy women, particularly stay-at-home mothers, of the Upper East Side and examined their behavior from a social researcher's perspective, inspired by the work of Jane Goodall.[13][18][21] In June 2015, MGM studios purchased the film rights to Primates of Park Avenue from Martin.[4][22]

In addition to her books, Martin has written for Psychology Today,[23] The Daily Telegraph,[24] The New York Times,[25] The Huffington Post,[26] and The Atlantic.[27]


Martin's book Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do became, according to the Daily Mail, a resource frequently used by "step mothers, step children and therapists."[28]

In May 2013, several articles were published about the practice of hiring disabled guides to avoid lines at Disney World, which Martin uncovered during her research for Primates of Park Avenue.[29] On May 16, 2015, The New York Times published an essay by Martin in the Sunday Review section, prior to the publication of her book Primates of Park Avenue.[25] The article received coverage from numerous media outlets,[30] in particular the concept of financial rewards called "wife bonuses", which Martin reported some Upper East Side wives receive from their husbands for superior domestic performance.[20][31] Following the essay, commentary appeared in the New York Post[32] and Page Six,[33] arguing against Martin’s account of wife bonuses. The New York Times characterized Martin's description of wife bonuses as “disputed”.[34] Primates of Park Avenue debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list for Nonfiction E-Book,[35] number two for Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction[36] and number three for Nonfiction Hardcover.[37] In The New York Times review of the book, Martin's writing was called "confident" and "evocative".[38] The book received generally positive reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle,[39] The Economist[40] and the Financial Times.[41]

The book and its reception were the subject of multiple articles in the months before and after its publication in The New York Times,[20][22][34] as well as covered by publications including Time,[20] Vanity Fair,[42] and NPR.[18]

An article published by the New York Post outlined discrepancies between Martin's published account and public records.[43] The Washington Post cast additional doubt on some of the book's assertions.[44][45] The day following the New York Post article, Simon & Schuster issued a public statement that changing names, dates, and identifying details is common in the genre of memoir, and that a note stating some information had been altered would be included with the e-book and future printings of Primates of Park Avenue.[46] Martin said that she had changed details in the book for privacy concerns[30] and told The Washington Post that “I stand by what I wrote, absolutely 100 percent”.[4]

Karen Heller of The Washington Post recapped the negative coverage in July 2015 and noted that "the copious coverage and social media chatter about the book...could possibly fill another book."[4]

Personal life[edit]

Martin is married to Joel Moser, a lawyer, financier, chief executive officer and adjunct professor at Columbia University, with whom she has two sons, one born in 2001 and the other in 2007.[47][48][49][50] She has two step-daughters, children of Moser's first marriage.[16]


  1. ^ Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein (June 7, 2015). "Upper East Side housewife's tell-all book is full of lies". New York Post. Retrieved June 8, 2015. Author Wednesday Martin — whose real first name is Wendy —... 
  2. ^ Annie Lowrey (June 2015). "At Lunch With the Author Who Introduced the Upper East Side 'Wife Bonus'". New York. Retrieved June 8, 2015. She grew up as Wendy Martin... 
  3. ^ Gina Barreca (May 27, 2015). "The $150,000 Purse And Other 'Wife Bonuses'". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 8, 2015. The author "Wednesday" Martin (her real name is Wendy, but I guess she liked the Addams Family)... 
  4. ^ a b c d Karen Heller (July 14, 2015). "The harried tale of 'Primates of Park Avenue'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Wednesday Martin (July 28, 2015). "When it comes to promiscuity, are women the new men?". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Jeff Rossen and Josh Davis (May 31, 2013). "Undercover at Disney:Deplorable scheme to skip lines". Today. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Emily Jane Fox (May 31, 2013). "Here's how much these moms spend to look good". CNN. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Annie Lowrey (2 June 2015). "At Lunch With the Author Who Introduced the Upper East Side 'Wife Bonus'". New York. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Andrew Buncombe (June 16, 2015). "Primates of Park Avenue: Wednesday Martin says we should feel sorry for the pampered, privileged women of New York's Upper East Side". The Independent. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Rachel Epstein. "A Cultural Study of the Ladies who Lunch". DuJour Magazine. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Alfred Brophy (26 May 2015). "Wednesday Martin's Primates of Fifth Avenue". The Faculty Lounge. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Jesse Kornbluth (May 28, 2015). "Wednesday Martin Is the Margaret Mead of the .1%". The Observer. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Jia Tolentino (2 June 2015). "A Conversation With Wednesday Martin, Author of Primates of Park Avenue". Jezebel. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Wednesday Martin Ph.D." Psychology Today. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "About Wednesday Martin". Wednesday Martin's own website, Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c Heather Havrilesky (20 May 2009). "A sympathetic new book about the family member everyone loves to hate suggests even the best stepmoms in the world are set up to fail miserably". Salon. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Hiroko Tabuchi (7 June 2015). "Publisher to Put Asterisk on 'Primates of Park Avenue'". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c d "Rich Housewives Go Under The Microscope In 'Primates Of Park Avenue'". NPR. 31 May 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  19. ^ Jill Filipovic (June 4, 2015). "Why the Wealthy Women of New York's Upper East Side Are So Completely Fascinating". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c d Belinda Luscombe (June 2, 2015). "What We Can Learn From Insanely Rich Parents". Time. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  21. ^ Gina Barreca (27 May 2015). "The $150,000 Purse And Other 'Wife Bonuses'". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Andy Lewis and Rebecca Ford (June 15, 2015). "Controversial 'Primates of Park Avenue' Book Acquired by MGM (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  23. ^ Wednesday Martin (16 July 2015). "Deals, Divorce, Direction: Off-Label Uses for Psychoanalysis". Psychology Today. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Wednesday Martin (23 January 2013). "Banning the 'blended' family: why step-families will never be the same as first families". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  25. ^ a b Wednesday Martin (May 16, 2015). "Poor Little Rich Women". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  26. ^ Wednesday Martin (14 June 2010). "The Dad Effect: How Fatherhood Changes Men and Why We Need More Books about Fathers". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  27. ^ Wednesday Martin (15 July 2015). "The Captivity of Motherhood". The Atlantic. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  28. ^ Lucy Waterlow (28 January 2013). "We're not stepmonsters! One writer reveals the loneliness of being a stepmother ... but says that it IS possible to form a special relationship with your partner's children". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  29. ^ Josh Levs (15 May 2013). "Disney World vows action after report of wealthy hiring disabled to skip lines". CNN. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  30. ^ a b Ben Yakas (7 June 2015). "Shocker: Upper East Side "Wife Bonus" Book Reportedly Filled With Lies". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  31. ^ Michelle Ruiz (May 21, 2015). "Do Stay-at-Home Moms Deserve a Salary?". Vogue. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  32. ^ Polly Phillips (May 28, 2015). "I get a wife bonus and I deserve it, so STFU". New York Post. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  33. ^ Mara Siegler (June 4, 2015). "Upper East Side socialite says 'wife bonuses' don't exist". Page Six. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  34. ^ a b "Primates of Times Square: A Case Study". The New York Times. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  35. ^ "E-Book Nonfiction". The New York Times. June 21, 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  36. ^ "Combined Print and E-Book Nonfiction". The New York Times. June 21, 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  37. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times. June 21, 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  38. ^ Vanessa Grigoriadis (29 May 2015). "'Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir,' by Wednesday Martin". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  39. ^ Carolyne Zinko (6 August 2015). "Primates of Pacific Heights". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  40. ^ "A field guide to Park Avenue Unnatural selection". The Economist. 20 June 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  41. ^ Emma Jacobs (12 July 2015). "'Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir', by Wednesday Martin". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  42. ^ Carson Griffith (June 4, 2015). "We Asked 10 Real U.E.S. Mommas (and One Husband) About the Primates of Park Avenue". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  43. ^ Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein (7 June 2015). "Upper East Side housewife's tell-all book is full of lies". New York Post. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  44. ^ Amy Argetsinger (June 8, 2015). "Forget the 'wife bonus.' How much more of 'Primates of Park Avenue' do we really believe?". The Washington Post Style Blog. Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  45. ^ Ben Rooney (June 8, 2015). "Book on New York City's glamorous wives adds disclaimer". CNNMoney. Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  46. ^ "Disclaimer to be added to popular 'Primates of Park Avenue'". Associated Press. June 8, 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  47. ^ "Shocker: Upper East Side "Wife Bonus" Book Reportedly Filled With Lies". Gothamist. June 7, 2015. Archived from the original on June 9, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015. Among the most glaring errors: Martin's first son was born in 2001 and her second was born in 2007, the year she moved from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side. Martin talks about raising two boys on the UES throughout the book. She writes that she attended exercise classes at Physique 57 to lose her baby weight after her second son's birth. The Post claims that gym did not exist when she claims to have exercised there. 
  48. ^ "Joel Moser". Columbia University. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  49. ^ Screws, Nic; Gordon, Amanda; Ankari, Moti. "Celebrity and Business Power Couples Pick the Perfect Valentine's Day Gifts". Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  50. ^ "Joseph Martin". Retrieved 6 October 2015.