The Farm by Joanne Ramos



I found this book on the advanced reader shelf in the basement of the library. This is a treasure trove for us volunteers, since advanced readers come in continuously to the library and cannot be sold, and must be given away. We try to give out these advanced readers when we table at the Farmer’s Market and things. I snagged this one and carried it with me quite a while before I got a chance to read it. Yesterday’s train delay coming down the Sierras was the perfect recipe for me to devour this new book.

The Farm is about a place where women go to be surrogates for the leaders of the world. They are given plenty of money and food, shelter and “all they have to do” is carry someone else’s child. A familiar plot, though this novel covers a lot of cultural ground– there are rankings of Hosts based on race (white is preferable) and our protagonist, Jane, is from the Philippines. She has a child of her own, Amalia, who she leaves behind with Ate– her cousin– while she is away making money as a surrogate. In the book we meet Reagan, who at first was mystified by pregnancy but soon becomes skeptical as she realizes how dehumanizing the whole scenario is– the name of the facility where they work is called Golden Oaks, which is referred to colloquially as The Farm. We also meet Ms Yu, who is the director of Golden Oaks and Lisa– who has been a surrogate for the same family with their 1st child and is now hosting their 3rd. She is very white and status quo pretty, so Lisa gets whatever she wants and the rules simply do not apply to her.

I got no clue if folks out there are reading this book, so I’ll not spoil the plot twist but suffice to say Jane ends up with Ms Yu and hosts a child for her, while also taking care of her own child Amalia. The ending of the book is a bit sad, in that there is no resolution for Jane or Ms Yu, but such is the world of literature!

I also noticed that the cover of my advanced reader has much more primary colors than the photo I’ve found online. I wonder why the change. I like the cover I have a bit more.

This book came out in May, so perhaps you’ve heard about it? I am so disorganized in my reading this summer it feels  wayward but isn’t late summer meant to be a little less orderly?


6 comments on “The Farm by Joanne Ramos”

  1. The coincidences just keep coming this summer. I had not heard about The Farm, but just yesterday I requested Madeline Miller’s book, Circe. It’s an audiobook that has been on my list, and there’s no waiting in line for it. Still listening to The Canterbury Tales but that one needs some breaking away from every once in a while.

    What, pray tell, is the “advanced reader?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine the Canterbury Tales warrants breaks but it is great to hear you are still working through them! The advanced reader is a publisher’s copy sent for free to the library so that librarians can screen new books coming out– they are not supposed to be sold for money since they are free from the publisher, but they still are certainly readable 🙂 They are often unedited and may be slightly different in final printing, but for the most part the work is “done”.

      Liked by 1 person

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