The Farm (Ramos)

The Farm:  A Novel
Joanne Ramos, 2019
Random House
336 pp.

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. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1973
Raised—State of Wisconsin, USA
Education—B.A., Princeton University
Currently—lives in New York City, New York

Joanne Ramos was born in the Philippines and moved to Wisconsin when she was six. She graduated with a BA from Princeton University.

After working in investment banking and private-equity investing for several years, she wrote for The Economist as a staff writer. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children. The Farm is her first novel. (From the publisher.)

Book Reviews
The Farm may be an "issue" book, but it wears the mantle lightly. It’s a breezy novel full of types (the Shark, the Dreamer, the Rebel, the Saint), and veers, not always successfully, from earnestness into satire. That shift in voice can obscure the novel’s intent—though to be fair, ambiguity may be the point.
Jen McDonald - New York Times Book Review

In lesser hands, Mae would read like a cartoon villain. But Ramos writes her with enough depth that the career woman reads as much a product of her environment as Jane.… [T]he book is so eager to make its point. Because what’s so striking about… isn’t that it imagines a frightening dystopia. This isn’t a hundred years in the future, it’s next week. This is reality, nudged just a touch to its logical extreme. Its very plausibility is a warning shot.
USA Today

[The Farm] hits home hard—a thrilling read about the myth of meritocracy, the way some people get ahead in life before they’re even born.
New York Magazine

[Joanne] Ramos’s debut novel couldn’t be more relevant or timely.
Oprah Magazine

This compelling first novel has echoes of The Handmaid’s Tale.… It’s one that’ll really make you think.
Good Housekeeping

A sharp takedown of the idea of American meritocracy.

The Farm is a smart, thoughtful novel about women, choices, and the immigrant experience that asks the question: How far would you go for the American dream?

Ramos’s transfixing debut scrutinizes the world of high-end surrogacy with stinging critiques and sets up heartrending dilemmas.… A surefire hit with book groups, this striking novel will also appeal strongly to readers who like dystopian touches and ethically complicated narratives.
Publishers Weekly

Traveling from the glitz of Manhattan to multiethnic, immigrant Queens and the isolation of the rural Hudson Valley, this is an exciting read about the politics of motherhood and female autonomy.
Library Journal

(Starred review) Compelling storytelling…. Ramos’s debut is so engaging that the reader might not understand the depths she probes until the book is done.…Each character’s complexity will give book groups plenty to discuss.

(Starred review) At a luxurious secret facility in the Hudson Valley of New York, women who need money bear children for wealthy would-be mothers with no time for pregnancy.… Excellent, both as a reproductive dystopian narrative and as a social novel about women and class.
Kirkus Reviews

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