Book Review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos

My Rating: 4/5

The Blurb: Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money—more than you’ve ever dreamed of—to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery—or worse.

Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.  (From Goodreads)

My Review: Ages ago I promised a book review on this book but wasn’t quite ready to write it. And a whole month later, I am still struggling with what I want to say…and maybe too much time has passed….idk. So instead of a full review…I’m just going to do a itty-bitty review.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos was on my tbr long before it was published in May this year; and so easily could have been a 5 star read for me; unfortunately the ending was a bit too soft for a book with so much tension running through it. A compelling read…. right up until the disappointing and somewhat disconnected epilogue; triggering one of my biggest issues with so many novels – the feeling that the author had hit their page quota and just had to wrap it up quick.

The Farm is a character-driven novel, written from the perspective of four very different female characters:

  • Jane – young and naive; an immigrant from the Phillipines trying to make a good life for herself and her baby daughter Amalia with limited education, means and opportunity;
  • Ate/Evelyn – Jane’s Cousin; a baby nurse and aspiring caterer with probably the most complex story of the four women;
  • Reagan – a “premium” host – white, attractive and apparently altruistic
  • Mae – the ambitious and self-serving CEO of Goldren Oaks (The Farm);

and set at Golden Oaks – a “high end, one stop shop for the procreation of the men and women – the movers, the shakers, the leaders, the iconoclasts – who are changing the world”

A thought provoking read; posing a number of moral and ethical questions regarding ethnicity, class, reproductive rights, power, exploitation, manipulation and greed; The Farm had a stack of potential unfortunately it fell flat right at the end where it matters.