The Farm: A Novel
A dystopic novel about a "farm" where surrogates go to live during their pregnancies while their clients monitor and control them.
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I’ve seen The Farm billed as a dystopian novel, but everything about it seemed entirely plausible. The women at Golden Oaks are treated to the best of everything–comfort, relaxation, health care–and they are also monitored carefully, and not allowed to leave for the duration of their pregnancies. The richest of the rich have paid for them to be surrogates, and those clients now control them.
Jane decided to be a surrogate to give her young daughter a chance at a better life. She is one of many immigrant women at The Farm, and she soon finds that the administrators use access to her daughter as a means to control her. She grows increasingly desperate to regain control and ownership over her own life and body.
The premise of this book was intriguing, and I found the story and characters engaging. Something, however, seemed to be missing that might have tipped this from “good” to “great.” The stakes often didn’t feel quite high enough for this to be as scary-speculative as it was intended. Nonetheless, while this lacked the unputdownable factor I’d hoped for, the unique setting managed to encapsulate timely issues including immigration, women’s agency over their own bodies, and the power of the uber-rich.
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.