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The Farm
Cover of The Farm
The Farm
A Novel
Borrow Borrow
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
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
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover It is Jane’s first day. Her interview at Golden Oaks was only six weeks ago, but it seems like everything has changed. An unknown baby lies in her stomach, and she is a hundred miles away from Amalia, surrounded by strangers. The smiling woman who greeted her in the Dorm’s lobby this morning took not only her suitcase and wallet but her cell phone, so Jane has no sense of the time, and she feels even more cut off from her daughter.
     
    Jane rolls up her sleeve and extends her arm, wondering if she is getting another shot, and why, since she is already pregnant.
     
    The Coordinator straps a bracelet onto Jane’s wrist, rubber or rubbery looking, and pushes a button that makes its thin, rectangular screen light up. “This is a WellBand. Custom-made for us. I gave you red ‘cause it was just Valentine’s day!” 

    Jane stares at it. Mrs Davis used to wear something like it, a circle of blue plastic like a child’s toy that looked strange next to her diamond tennis bracelet, the gleaming ovals of her nails. 
     
    “It tracks your activity levels. Try jumping.”
     
    Jane begins to jump.
     
    “See?” the Coordinator angles the bracelet face toward Jane. The green zeroes that had once filled the screen have been replaced by orange numbers that climb steadily as Jane hops, growing short of breath.
     
    “You can stop,” says the Coordinator, but in a friendly way. She holds Jane’s wrist and guides the bracelet over a reader attached to a laptop until the reader bleeps. “There. Now you’re synched up with our Data Management Team. Let’s say your heart rate spikes—this happens, it’s usually no biggie, but it can also signal some underlying irregularity in your heart, pregnancy being a strain on your tick-tocker,” the Coordinator—Carla?—pauses, waiting for the severity of this possibility to set in. “We’ll know immediately, can whisk you in to see a nurse. Or if you’re not getting enough exercise, we’ll have Hanna all over it.” Carla grins, “All over you.” Her freckled cheeks fold into dimples. Jane has never seen so many freckles in her life—freckles on top of freckles receding into freckles.
     
    “Hanna…?”
     
    “She’s our Wellness Coordinator. You’ll get to know her real well,” Carla winks at Jane. She runs through a tutorial of the WellBand—its various monitors, timers, the alarm and snooze and panic buttons, the GPS locator, calendar, alerts, how to receive announcements.
     
    “How do the clothes fit?” Carla’s eyes rake over Jane, head to toe and back up again.  Jane feels her face grow hot. In truth, she has never worn clothes so thin and so soft. Just this morning in her winter coat, she was freezing. Ate and Amalia waited with her on the street outside their apartment building for the car to arrive, Amalia buried under so many layers of wool and fleece that Jane could barely see her face. But here, in clothes light as air that fit her perfectly, Jane is warm. Jane says so to Carla.
     
    “Cashmere,” Carla answers matter-of-factly. “Golden Oaks doesn’t skimp, that’s for sure.”
     
    There is a knock on the open door. “Hi Jane,” sings Ms Yu, giving Jane a stiff hug.
     
    “Hello Ms. Yu,” Jane jumps to her feet.
     
    “Please.  Sit.  I just wanted to make sure you’re settling in.” Ms Yu takes a seat on the bench next...
About the Author-
  • Joanne Ramos was born in the Philippines and moved to Wisconsin when she was six. She graduated with a B.A. from Princeton University. After working in investment banking and private-equity investing, she became a staff writer at The Economist. She currently serves on the board of The Moth and lives in New York City with her family. The Farm, her debut novel, is a national bestseller and has been chosen by over 50 media outlets in America and abroad as a “must read” in 2019. The Farm was longlisted for the Center of Fiction’s 2019 First Novel Prize.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 11, 2019
    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. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM Partners.

  • AudioFile Magazine In this debut audiobook, women carrying surrogate pregnancies submit to constant monitoring and near total isolation at the titular farm in exchange for nine months of luxury and a hefty sum. Narrator Fran de Leon uses accents and tone to differentiate between the points of view of several characters. Some of de Leon's characterizations are more effective than others. Filipina Jane grows more desperate over the course of the novel, and her transformation is reflected in de Leon's performance. But Lisa, one of the hosts, is portrayed so boorishly that she sounds like a cartoon. Overly expressive phrasing and few odd pronunciations ("di-a-per") also distract listeners. A more nuanced performance would have better suited this exploration of the economic and emotional aspects of surrogacy, pregnancy, and parenthood. E.C. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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Joanne Ramos
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