NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Life is a lucrative business, as long as you play by the rules.
Skimm Reads Pick • People Book of the Week • Belletrist Book Pick • “[Joanne] Ramos’s debut novel couldn’t be more relevant or timely.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • Glamour • Real Simple • Good Housekeeping • Marie Claire • Town & Country
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.
NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD • LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
“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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Surrogacy is a controversial topic, but debut author Joanne Ramos pushes things even farther. What if it were marketed as an ultraluxury service for billionaires who want their fetuses to have every possible advantage? At Golden Oaks Gestational Retreat, “Hosts” spend 10 months being pampered (or monitored?) in spa-like surroundings, drinking green smoothies and doing yoga. But when two surrogates discover how the facility is manipulating them, their distrust turns into panic. Ramos’ characters embody both sides of the surrogacy argument, providing lots to think about and discuss. What’s so disturbing about The Farm, though, is that it believably toes the line between a hypercapitalistic future and our present-day reality.
Ramos's transfixing debut scrutinizes the world of high-end surrogacy with stinging critiques and sets up heartrending dilemmas. Timid Filipina immigrant Jane is persuaded by her much older cousin Evelyn to apply as a surrogate, known as a "host," for the ultrarich after she is fired from her lucrative nannying job. Jane passes the highly selective process, hesitantly leaves her own infant daughter with Evelyn, and, already pregnant, moves into Golden Oaks, a luxury resort-style center in the Hudson Valley where the surrogates live together. Assertive, smooth-talking Mae runs Golden Oaks with strict rules, very curtailed outside contact, and constant surveillance. Jane bonds quickly with her roommate, Reagan, an aspiring photographer and "premium host" (because she's white), who hopes the staggering bonuses for healthy delivery will allow her to escape her father's control. Lisa, another surrogate returning for her third pregnancy, disastrously pulls Jane and Reagan into her schemes to subvert rules. After Jane learns some secrets about Mae and Evelyn, her concern for her absent daughter propels her on a dangerous path that threatens Mae's ambitious plans and Jane's security. Ramos particularly shines at her nuanced, emotional depictions of these women's interior struggles. A surefire hit with book groups, this striking novel will also appeal strongly to readers who like dystopian touches and ethically complicated narratives.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Strong start, lame finish
Great concept for a book, was intrigued with the start. The plot had a great opportunity to go somewhere fun and unexpected, but this did not happen. The ending found the characters sailing off into a yawn-worthy sunset.
Also, the word “forkful” was way overused in this book. Who actually says the word “forkful” let alone use it multiple times in one book??
I love this book! After reading the first few pages I was hooked!!! I wish there was a sequel, I got attached to the characters pretty fast!!!
Immediately intrigued by a happenstance eavesdropping on a book club
Ramos truly made fiction come alive. Though the idea of a surrogacy farm seems ridiculous in the beginning, I was sold by the time Jane got there. Incredible plot twists, many soul stirring questions, and pages full of gripping cultural realism.