The Farm
GENRE: Fiction
TOPICS: Society

The Farm

How much would you sacrifice to build a future for the ones you love? What lengths would you go to to secure your own financial security? What measures would you take to make people follow a set of rules, if millions of dollars were at stake?

These are questions that Joanne Ramos poses in her best-selling, debut book, ‘The Farm”. The Farm follows Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, in search of a better future for herself and her daughter in New York City when she commits to being a “host” or, in other words, a professional surrogate. For nine months she will not be permitted to eat, move freely or contact her family without approval from management at ‘Golden Oaks’, known as ‘The Farm’ to its residents. Breaking the terms of this contract will result in losing the life-changing bonus that she stands to receive upon successful delivery of the baby she is carrying for a wealthy and expectant client.

Jane is not alone. There are several women who have signed onto this lifestyle, each with different backgrounds, philosophies and motivations. On the other side of the spectrum is the management of ‘Golden Oaks’ who administer a twisted version of tender, loving care of their employees to ensure that clients receive the perfect babies they have handsomely paid for. What I found most interesting were the insights and debates Ramos delves into around class, gender, race, religion, capitalism, meritocracy and immigration. It was a thrilling read which, despite its odd premise, remained disturbingly realistic.

Joanne Ramos will challenge your thinking on motherhood, prejudice, capitalism and justice with this novel; I found myself judging characters harshly and then repenting for my actions as the plot thickened. I laughed, sighed, shed some tears and nearly swore at one point or another during this 400+ page read. I strongly recommend it for either a personal or book club read. If it’s for the latter, I would prepare yourselves for some controversial debates!

REVIEWED BY: Elizabeth Yentumi