The Farm

The Farm

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Ensconced within a Hudson Valley retreat where expectant birth mothers are given luxurious accommodations and lucrative rewards to produce perfect babies, a Filipino immigrant is forced to choose between a life-changing payment and the outside world.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781984853752
1984853759
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 24cm

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BWilsoned
Jul 21, 2019

This is a thought-provoking novel with a quite plausible premise. It’s so well done, I was uncomfortable with the ending. Issues include discrimination, racism, surrogacy, child care, immigration, financial disparity, and family. This would be a great book club choice because there are so many things to talk about: is the director of Golden Oaks morally ambiguous? Are the Caucasian surrogates, “Premium Hosts”, altruistic or looking for easy money? Why do the rich clients want those premium hosts when they themselves are usually not Caucasian? Is Evelyn a kind of pimp, and does her reason make her less so? Is Jane a pushover?

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.

d
deborahbates
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.

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GreenDog2006
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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