The Farm

A Novel
Narrated by: Fran de Leon
Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (463 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

National Best Seller 

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 TimeGlamourReal Simple • Good HousekeepingMarie ClaireTown & 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

Praise for The Farm

“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 one 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 best-selling author of Super Sad True Love Story and Lake Success)

©2019 Joanne Ramos (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

The Farm is a smart, thoughtful novel about women, choices, and the immigrant experience that asks the question: How far would you go for the American dream?” (PopSugar, “Buzzy Books to Read This Spring”)

“Perhaps the most powerful element of this debut novel by Ramos, who was born in Manila and moved to Wisconsin when she was six, is its portrait of the world of Filipinas in New York. The three-page soliloquy of instructions for nannying delivered to Jane by her more experienced cousin is a work of art in itself.... Excellent.” [Kirkus Reviews (starred review)]

“Transfixing... 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.” (Publishers Weekly)

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What listeners say about The Farm

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good Premise, but-

The book itself is a statement piece. There is little growth for the main character. She doesn’t triumph over her struggles. If you are looking for that kind of character development you won’t get it here. Jane is the same person in the end as she was when her story begins. Caution is her only gain. The author describes this work as a “window” into the life of an immigrant. She explores the lengths they will go to get a piece of that “American Dream”. The sacrifice of their autonomy to put money in the bank. Something most Americans will never do because we enjoy our freedom of choice and our right to not save a dime. Golden Oaks (The Farm) is a luxurious spa for surrogates (hosts) who sign over their autonomy with the enticement of big bucks. These women cut themselves off from their everyday lives and dedicate their bodies and mental and emotional energies to growing fetuses for wealthy patrons that either cannot reproduce or simply do not have the time in their busy schedules for such an undertaking. Most of the Hosts are poor immigrants. This story focuses mostly on the Filipino experience where we meet Jane, who when fired from her job as a baby caregiver, is manipulated into signing on at “Golden Oaks.” The most powerful element of this story is the presence of low-key racism in the exploitation of women. Most of The Farms clients prefer the rare white host, which becomes an untapped market in consideration for expansion by the proprietors. It’s all about the business, After All.

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent novel!

I couldn’t wait for this book to come out and I listened practically non stop. Very interesting subject matter. It will pull at your heart strings and make your blood boil. I know I was yelling in the kitchen while listening and my husband looked in like I was crazy! The characters feel so real! I have no complaints about this book. It moved swiftly and the narration was great.

8 people found this helpful

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Disappointing Storyline

The idea and concept of the book is very interesting... but the storyline was terrible and didn’t go anywhere.

2 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking

I was really engaged by this thought-provoking story. The characters were multi-faceted, maybe slightly exaggerated, but that served the point of the story, and emphasized the disparity between the super wealthy and the poverty-level women who work for them. I really liked this narrator, she brought the characters to life.

1 person found this helpful

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Slow

The story line actually had meat but was smothered in boring tedious word gravy. The women’s revelations and problems were not written dynamically enough and the singsong monotone reading did not help. I am dissatisfied the author did not do justice to the women in the book. This poor review may also be this is not my genre.

1 person found this helpful

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Extremely engrossing and hard to put down.

This book held my interest right from the start and all the way through the end. Although it is an examination of class and socioeconomics, it is handled with sensitivity so that (as in life perhaps) there are no 100% good guys and no 100% bad guys. This is a difficult feat to perform these days when it appears that the dictates of the literary world require casting characters who desire and acquire status and material gains in life as villains

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Excellent

I loved this book. Subject is interesting and gives you a lot to consider about the ethics of the situation. If you are paying for a surrogate, do you have her best interest in mind. Or do you just consider the baby's health or possibly the client. Excellent narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Culturally illuminating

I love what this book revealed about the Filipino immigrant culture. It challenges anyone to be more compassionate and sensitive to the struggle of others.

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So boring!

I can’t believe I listened to the whole audio. I kept thinking the good part was coming. Still don’t get the point of it and a very disappointing ending.

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Ehhhh

The idea of this book was interesting but I feel it tried to tell too many stories and never managed to make any sort of impact or conclusion. I kept listening, hoping it would all come together at some point... instead I felt very underwhelmed at the end.