A blonde Midwesterner with a comparative lit/cultural studies Ph.D. married to a New York Jew moves from the West Village to the Upper East Side, and apparently the move uptown is more of a culture shock than than the move to NYC from Michigan. She observes her new environment with an air of detachment, even as she adopts some of the mores and signifiers (designer workout, Birkin bag, house in the Hamptons.
Until something bad happens to Martin and the natives provide support, Martin, feeling snubbed, takes refuge in judging the snooty fuckers.
Her field notes are funny and cute, like where she presents her background info on [Manhattan] "Island Organization"
The island is organized, in the minds of the island dwellers, into four quadrants: Up, Down, Right, and Left. The "Up" and "Down" areas are believed to be markedly distinct--with Up being preferable for raising children and Down being considered primarily a place for pre-reproductives, cultural "outsiders," feasting, and ecstatic nighttime rites.
There is a distinct lack of commentary on race, though, or class. Martin or her editor should probably have inserted the word "white" before every noun representing people (including "island dwellers").
As I indicated above, Martin acquires a Birkin bag (as far as I can tell, they generally start in the five figures, but maybe you can get one in the fours?). At one point she claims it's the UES rubbing off on her, but in another passage she admits to having wanted one for twenty years. I'm being judgy myself, sure, but mostly I'm baffled by the phenomenon of a $10,000-minimum pocketbook. Feel free to judge me for being a middle-aged white lady whose carry all is a YakPak backpack she replaces every few years when the bottom resembles the Flintstones' car.
I have many more judgy things to write based on passages I bookmarked, but I'm trying to take the highground, thus not replicating the privileged white lady mocking a more privileged white lady for having more privilege. How about a more than cursory examination of one's own agency?
Ugh, the bit about nannies and mommies in a power struggle, though...