Book Review | The Farm by JoAnne Ramos
4 Star: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
The Farm, by JoAnne Ramos is a creepy little thriller about surrogacy that raises the questions about what happens when we begin to tinker with nature. It is another favorite from 2019 that snuck up on me! The multiple quandaries it poses are perfect for a book club discussion! I read The Farm while walking two close friends of mine through battles with infertility, so I dove into this book with a heavy heart for not only the struggle to bear children but also the understanding of the moral weight of the options modern medicine provides.
In The Farm, JoAnne Ramos weaves multiple underlying themes throughout the book of tensions within class, race, capitalism, sexism, family planning, morality and friendship. All these things sit just beneath the main plot of this story. This book is rich with material that makes you stop and think.
At the center of this book is the story of Jane, an immigrant & single mom who chooses to become a surrogate to earn money. She enters Golden Oaks, a facility that cares for “host” moms by monitoring diet & exercise, among other things! The monitor the moms to ensure the babies are healthy. The facility plans the days to include meals and exercise and dr appointments., among other things! It doesn’t sound so awful at first – couples who can’t have babies are helping women that want to help or need extra money. Unfortunately, we see this system exploits the less privileged and manipulates the underclass to benefit the elite.
As with most things in life, there are many factors at work here. The host moms tend to be low income and foreign women. The clients tend to be high profile and often white. And any decisions made with the best intentions of the baby can pit those two sides against one another. Who has the right to decide? Who has the right to know?
This is a really unique story with an honest ending. The Farm keeps you thinking long after the book is done. For as crazy as the story got sometimes, I really could see this happening in these modern times. For example, we can choose gender and can choose to abort based on percentage of certain genes. So the topics in this book aren’t so far off as they may seem. The Farm brings up so many great points on parenting, the desire for designer babies, right to life, and even gene editing.