October 29

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

It’s not often I’m at a loss for words Readheads, but Joanne Ramos can take a bow because this book left me rather speechless. Privately I am sure my family is rejoicing, but it’s a sensation I’m not used to experiencing and I don’t like it….just like I really didn’t like some people in this book.

Last week Ms A dropped her 2 cents on The Testaments by Margaret Atwood so this review could be as short and sweet as ‘if that book had little sister, it’d be The Farm‘.

How much of yourself are you prepared to sell?  How much profit would you make from those you love?  What is the price of women’s bodies and their reproductive skills?  This books answers those questions and you will not sleep well as they are revealed friends.  It is icky.

The Farm is a luxury fertility facility.  Not an IVF farm but a fancy-pants cattle-shed surrogacy plant where the super rich buy the incubating rights of their babies to cook in another woman. They select their perfect carrier like you would an any oven – style, colour, capacity, size, brand, history, looks – note, Philippino women are most compliant and diligent at producing the perfect baby so they are popular and much of the book talks about how they are secured.  Ugh.  I know this is meant to be fiction – but hello?  It was all so wrong yet all so familiar.

The Farm is a for-profit business overseen by the HIDEOUS and VILE Mae Yu who spends her time thinking of countless ways to drive profits by commodifying and outsourcing every single aspect of child-production and child-rearing.  Her warped list of opportunities is longer than 500 umbilical cords knotted together and her callousness is so perfectly framed by the author.  There is not a single thing to like about this women – and a thousand things to empathise about all the women who find themselves as the carriers.

So the tale is diabolical but the writing most certainly is not. This story cuts a knife through the stale cake of race and class power and just when you think things may be changing in the world, you ache wondering if you’re just plain delusional.  I know it is fiction but Ramos tackles an omnipresent real-world dilemma where money always talks the loudest and wins.

If you have been binge watching A Handmaid’s Tale, I suspect you may relish The Farm because you have grown accustomed to true *ssholes.  This book is definitely worth your time Readheads, but it will leave you feeling like you have a dreadful dose of morning sickness. I don’t think the author intended it but it really is a clever gift with purchase idea don’t you think?

And that is my 2 cents worth.