Bloomsbury Books May 2019
LIFE IS A LUCRATIVE BUSINESS, AS LONG AS YOU PLAY BY THE RULES
Ambitious businesswoman Mae Yu runs Golden Oaks, a luxury retreat transforming the fertility industry. There, women get the very best of everything: organic meals, fitness trainers, daily massages and big money. Provided they dedicate themselves to producing the perfect baby. For someone else.
Jane is a young immigrant in search of a better future. Living in a cramped dorm with her baby daughter and her shrewd aunt Ate, she sees an unmissable chance to change her life. But at what cost?
The Farm is an unforgettable story about how we live and who truly holds the power.
A very interesting and thought provoking read that becomes increasingly sinister as the story progresses. A work of fiction in a world where money talks and for those women, who for whatever reason don’t (or can’t) become pregnant, Golden Oaks offers the perfect solution.
I must confess, Surrogacy was not a subject I had given much thought to previously but this book definitely gets one thinking. Raising issues of wealth and race, who are the surrogates and who are the ‘clients’ the would be parents? Seen initially as a well paid job, surrogates are vetted and if successful are accommodated in a luxurious environment, fully catered for with access to premium healthcare and leisure facilities. What transpires however is a ‘big brother’ type of environment where ever movement is observed and monitored. The baby making factory, The Farm is a high end facility outsourcing pregnancy, a profit making business in a world where money buys anything.
Is this happening already I wonder, possibly but surely not on such a grand and cynical scale… This book focuses on Jane a young Filipino immigrant, struggling to make ends meet, living in poverty and striving for a better life for herself and her daughter. The author, Joanne Ramos was born in the Philippines and moved to USA when she was six. She describes this book as fiction but in many ways true, drawing on the many stories of women in the Filipino community in USA, the difficulties and the sacrifices these women make to improve their own lives and that of their family.
A powerful read about women and about difference, the opportunities we are born with and the limitations these can place on us. A book which aims to explore and doesn’t claim to offer any answers. It achieves its aim in terms of providing an insightful and engaging read that left me wanting to know more and reflecting on the issues raised.
About the Author
Joanne Ramos was born in the Philippines and moved to Wisconsin when she was six. She graduated with a BA from Princeton University. After working in investment banking and private-equity investing for several years, she became a staff writer at the Economist. She currently serves on the board of The Moth. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.