The Farm

The Farm

A Novel

Book - 2019
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER * Life is a lucrative business, as long as you play by the rules.

Skimm Reads Pick * People Book of the Week * "[Joanne] Ramos's debut novel couldn't be more relevant or timely."-- O: The Oprah Magazine

Nestled in New York's Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages--and all of it for free. In fact, you're paid big money to stay here--more than you've ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a "Host" at Golden Oaks--or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she'll receive on the delivery of her child.

Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

Praise for The Farm

"So many factors--gender, race, religion, class--may determine where you come down on the surrogacy debate. . . . Ramos plays with many of these notions in her debut novel, The Farm , which imagines what might happen were surrogacy taken to its high-capitalist extreme. . . . The stage is set for lively book chat." -- The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

"A thrilling read." -- New York

"Grippingly realistic." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Brilliant." -- New York Post

"A provocative idea, and Ramos nails it . . . Crisp and believable, this smart debut links the poor and the 1 percent in a unique transaction that turns out to be mutually rewarding." -- People

"Wow, Joanne Ramos has written the page-turner about immigrants chasing what's left of the American dream. . . . Truly unforgettable." --Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story and Lake Success
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781984853752
Branch Call Number: RAMOS J
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 25 cm


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From the critics

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VaughanPLKim Jul 17, 2019

This book explores a number of topics, such as race, class, the immigrant experience, motherhood, and the ethics of surrogacy, that would make it a great book club pick. Unfortunately, the ending fell a bit flat for me, but it's still a worthwhile read.

Jul 16, 2019

This book is an excellent demonstration of the power of fiction to explore large heady concepts. A variety of immigration experiences, body autonomy, business ethics, race, surrogacy, and the effects of old money on it's children to name a few. The story is told from a few different perspectives, two 'Hosts' at the farm who come there for completely different reasons, a family member of one of them as well as the manager of the farm itself. The author doesn't unduly vilify or heroize any of these women rather approaching each of their stories with empathy. I loved it.

Jul 06, 2019

The Farm was worth reading for me because of its look into the hidden world of Filipina immigrant women in NYC: jammed into crowded dormitories, eking out a living working for wealthy white women as housekeepers or nannies, sending every penny they can back to their families and children back home.

As a novel, though, I felt it was pretty ordinary. The premise was interesting: a for-profit company managing surrogates having babies for (again) wealthy women who were either too old or too vain to gestate their harvested eggs themselves. This seems all too plausible as a business model - I suspect there's a version of it happening now. The execution, however, was only so-so: awkward shifts in perspective from one character to another, contrived plot devices, and a too-tidy epilogue that robbed the end of any power.

The glowing critical reviews seem largely to applaud the Filipina insights and/or the courage of a few women to break free (Kirkus starred review: "portrait of the world of Filipinas in New York; Oprah magazine: "couldn't be more relevant or timely). So if you're looking for social commentary, it's a win. If you're hoping for a breathtaking literary debut that pulls you into the lives of memorable characters and leaves you wanting more, this isn't it, in my opinion. This is not The Handmaid's Tale. The first-time Philippines-born author is one to watch, though.

JCLKariE Jun 25, 2019

This book did not disappoint. The Farm is a great book group selection because it provides so much material to discuss. The characters are well drawn. Ramos does a nice job of showing and then exploiting the women's motivations for carrying the babies. I am especially fascinated by Mae, the head of the Golden Oaks facility. Mae's ability to twist each interaction with the hosts to get the most bang for her buck makes for great "what's going to happen" throughout.

JCLHeatherM May 30, 2019

There's definite 'Handmaids Tale' vibes to found in Ramos' piece on a pregnancy farm that caters to the elitist of the elite. Though the female 'Hosts' are not forced into their situation, there seems little way out in order to receive a payout with a successful surrogacy for a well-to-do 'Client' that they may never meet. Forced to put their lives and dreams on hold in order to earn a windfall, the Hosts sacrifice everything for the chance at something greater down the line.


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