Wendy "Wednesday" Martin is an American author and cultural critic 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, The Daily Telegraph, and she has appeared as an expert commentator on step-parenting, parenting, and motherhood.
Martin was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan where she studied anthropology and received a doctorate in comparative literature and cultural studies from Yale University. Her doctoral work examined early psychoanalysis and anthropology. Martin has taught literature and cultural studies at Yale, The New School, and Baruch College.
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. Simon & Schuster released the book in June 2015. 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. In June 2015, MGM studios purchased the film rights to Primates of Park Avenue from Martin.
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."
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. 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. The article received coverage from numerous media outlets, 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. Following the essay, commentary appeared in the New York Post and Page Six, arguing against Martin’s account of wife bonuses. The New York Times characterized Martin's description of wife bonuses as “disputed”.
Primates of Park Avenue debuted at number one on the The New York Times Best Seller list for Nonfiction E-Book, number two for Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction and number three for Nonfiction Hardcover. In The New York Times review of the book, Martin's writing was called "confident" and "evocative". The book received generally positive reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle, The Economist and the Financial Times.
The book and its reception were the subject of multiple articles in the months before and after its publication in The New York Times, as well as covered by publications including Time, Vanity Fair, and NPR.
An article published by The New York Post outlined discrepancies between Martin's published account and public records. The Washington Post cast additional doubt on some of the book's assertions. 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. Martin said that she had changed details in the book for privacy concerns and told The Washington Post that “I stand by what I wrote, absolutely 100 percent”.
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."
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. She has two step-daughters, children of Moser's first marriage.