Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity—and all of it for free. 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.
Ramos’ debut is so engaging that the reader might not fully understand the depths she probes until the book is done ... each character’s complexity will give book groups plenty to discuss. An alarmingly realistic look at the power of wealth and access buoyed by clear, compelling storytelling and appealing, if not always likable, characters.
It’s got book-club hit and bestseller written all over it, even before you clock its media-friendly author ... it’s the very nowness that makes The Farm such a haunting read ... Ramos has crafted a real page-turner that combines all the hottest issues of the day: inequality, race and women’s battle to reclaim their bodies from commodification by big business, with the eternal questions of how much we can sacrifice before losing ourselves completely. She is eloquent on the little intimacies of gestating a baby and the upstairs-downstairs dramas between rich white ladies who feel guilty about everything and their nannies who must debase themselves without making their bosses feel sorry for them. The result is an entertaining novel that is also a serious warning.
The Farm may be an 'issue' book, but it wears the mantle lightly. It’s a breezy novel full of types (the Shark, the Dreamer, the Rebel, the Saint), and veers, not always successfully, from earnestness into satire. That shift in voice can obscure the novel’s intent — though to be fair, ambiguity may be the point ... Ramos’s characters articulate both sides of the surrogacy argument ... Some of its sharpest scenes are those skewering the rich ... Yet Ramos also lingers indulgently over the trappings of the wealthy, to the point where reading this novel felt a bit like watching several hours of reality-TV luxury porn. So The Farm isn’t not a critique, but it’s also not an indictment ... The novel’s too-neat ending won’t provide satisfying answers. But the stage is set for lively book chat.