Myth of Meritocracy

Have you heard of surrogacy? Are you curious to know about the emotional life of surrogate mother? Would you be  interested to look at it from a different point of view? How about discovering the social and political aspect of it?   The Farm answers these questions, while telling you much more than you could imagine.

Cover image for The farm : a novel / Joanne Ramos.THE FARM is a story of several female characters with different backgrounds, beliefs and needs who gather at Golden Oaks (aka The Farm) for one goal; to give birth to babies for other couples. However, their reasoning behind their surrogacy is different. The protagonist, Jane is a Filipino immigrant who is a single mother from a poor family. She leaves her daughter with her cousin, Ate, to make money delivering a baby for an unknown wealthy couple. Jane’s journey and experiences at Golden Oaks is at the core of The Farm.  The story follows Jane’s journey while also exploring the lives of other surrogates such as Reagan and  Lisa, as well Golden Oak’s director, Mae Yue.  Juxtaposed with life at Golden Oaks is the life for immigrants, as reflected in the story of Jane’s cousin Ate.

In her debut novel, Ramos illuminates the ethical issues surrounding surrogacy, as well as the emotional ramifications for each person involved.  The stories and struggles for each host at Golden Oaks creates a literary atmosphere of ethical and moral tension that makes the reader begin to  wonder what Golden Oaks might be hiding.   For nine months, the hosts cannot leave the grounds, their movements are monitored, and they are cut off completely from their former lives.  Is the financial reward enough of a compensation?

Ramos’s view portrays not only the process of choosing candidates for surrogacy, but also discusses the selection of genetic profiles, background and class in order to produce “perfect” babies.  Heartbreaking, suspenseful and provocative, The Farm is not truly a dystopian novel, as the characters and Golden Oaks could all very easily be a part of the fabric of modern-day American.

At Caledon Public Library, we recommend the following books that are similarly heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, and focused on difficult issues:

Cover image for A river of stars : a novel / Vanessa Hua.      Cover image for Future home of the living god : a novel / Louise Erdrich.      Cover image for Small great things / Jodi Picoult.      Cover image for It ends with us / Colleen Hoover.