“For a novel about the ruthlessness of capitalism, Ramos demonstrates remarkable tenderness for her characters.”
–Jessica Weisberg, The New Yorker
Read the full review here!
“…instead of relying on easy villains in a story that quickly turns sinister, Ramos turns to three of the issues that divide America: race, class and immigration. Nuanced characters and a fast-paced narrative elevate a story that might otherwise feel weighed down by its themes.”
Read more and see the full list here!
“All these books remind us of the human stories behind the headlines and to be thankful for what we have got.“
—Patricia Nicol, The Daily Mail
“Don’t worry so much about having a plan. Don’t feel such pressure to know where you’re going.”
Read Joanne’s advice to her 18 year-old self and much more here!
When Joanne Ramos was trying to get a literary agent after writing The Farm, she pitched her debut novel as “Handmaid’s Tale meets The Help.”
In Ramos’s The Farm, women voluntarily sign up to live in a luxury retreat and act as surrogates for rich clients. They are paid handsomely and many, such as the main protagonist Jane, are poor and in desperate need of funds. But as the novel progresses, the women’s rights and ability to control their body is slowly stripped away, albeit with a smile and excuses about protecting the health of the foetus. The book sprang from the author’s conflicted feelings about capitalism and the myth that meritocracy is the major driver of economic success.
Read the full article from the Calgary Herald here!
If you haven’t read Joanne Ramos’ The Farm yet, you should.
Even though the novel is her debut work, it’s taking the literary world by storm. Verging on dystopian, The Farm imagines a world not too different from our own, where lower class, marginalized women sign away their wombs — and a year of their life — to serve the wealthy upper classes.
Cold Tea Collective had a chance to ask the Filipina-American writer about her book, and the life and ideas that inspired it.
Read the whole interview here!
You can find the AudioBook here! Check out what Booklist had to say about it below:
“The clash of race, ethics, class, and ambition drives Ramos’ scintillating debut, made even more impressive by de Leon’s compelling narration, in which she gifts the characters with distinct tones, accents, and personalities. That both author and reader share Filipina American backgrounds adds enhanced empathic rapport. That both prove to be such accomplished literary first-timers signals promising future endeavors, as well.”
On Thursday, October 19th, Joanne will be honored at the annual BlogHer Creator’s Summit as one of their Voices of the Year. She will be speaking at the summit with actress and producer, Julianna Margulies.
The New York Times named The Farm a must-read novel to prepare for the sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale!
The Farm has been named one of the “Best Fiction Books by Women This Year” by Marie Claire Magazine! Marie Claire had previously selected The Farm as their June book club pick. If you’re reading along, don’t forget to post your review on social media using the hashtag #ReadWithMC!
Click here to read Marie Claire’s full list of new fiction by women!
The Farm is an insightful and beautifully crafted novel that explores surrogacy, the intersection of wealth and privilege and the intimate lives of migrant women in America. It is eerily insightful into a not-so-distant future where the exploitation of women’s bodies will become even more normalised.
Read the full interview here!
Read the announcement here!
Joanne sat down with Zibby Owens to talk about Joanne’s debut novel, The Farm. You can listen to the whole episode here!
“…her ability to explore the nuances of these questions in the first place — in tight, spare prose, with well-placed plotting, no less — makes me hopeful that Ramos will pen another book soon.”
— Hayley Phelan, Los Angeles Review of Books
The Farm is a Skimm Reads pick in the Daily Skimm Newsletter! Here’s what they had to say about it:
“Imagine an all-expenses paid luxury spa retreat for women. The catch? You have to carry someone else’s baby to be there. This one’s like “The Handmaid’s Tale” meets Liane Moriarty (“Big Little Lies” author).”
–The Daily Skimm; July 3rd, 2019
The Canadian talk show Cityline chose The Farm as it’s June book-club pick! I absolutely loved speaking to the dynamic and beautiful Tracy Moore about the book, straddling worlds, and how most people are neither villains nor saints, but complex, conflicted beings.
At a book event in Toronto in May, I met Melissa Grelo, the moderator of the popular Canadian talk show, The Social. She told me that The Social’s book club, Social Chapter, had chosen The Farm to be its June book! See the announcement here!
What fun speaking with Carolyn MacKenzie about The Farm on the popular Canadian morning TV show, The Morning Show!
“Every season has its Big Book, the one everyone is talking about, and this season, it’s The Farm. This debut by Joanne Ramos is as good as most first novels get.”
—Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail
“At the heart of surrogacy lie questions about choice and power, but Ramos says she has nothing against it. ‘I guess I would question how far we’ve pushed so many things into the realm of markets. I just wonder what that does to our relationships.’ When value is conflated with price, as happens so often in our society, things get warped, she says: ‘Certain things which are unpaid, like motherhood, are not even seen until they’re outsourced. Does surrogacy make people value pregnancy more … or does it diminish it because it’s just another thing to buy?'” Read the rest of the interview here!
I’m so excited that The Farm was chosen as a Summer Read on the Today Show! Check it out below!
You can now download a PDF guide to The Farm. It was produced by Penguin Random House and includes an interview, discussion questions, and even recipes from Joanne Ramos’s mother.
If you don’t have a PDF reader simply click on the embedded version below. You will be able to flip through on most devices without leaving your browser.
I returned to my alma mater, Princeton University, in April on a gorgeous spring day to tape the She Roars podcast with Margaret Koval. We had a great conversation about The Farm, motherhood, capitalism, and how we see–and fail to see–the people around us. You can hear it here:
I was thrilled to hear that The Farm was chosen for the BBC2/Jo Whiley Book Club in the UK! When I was in London the week of May 13th, I got to chat with Jo–and the lovely members of a book club out of Kent–about the The Farm. You can hear the program here:
I introduced The Farm to the world on May 8th at one of my favorite bookstores, The Strand, at a sold-out event packed by old and new friends. You can see my talk with the author and frequent host of The Moth, Tara Clancy, here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bQPjnOu4TM
Belletrist, the online book club started by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss, chose The Farm as its May book! Emma announced the big news on Busy Philipp’s late-night talk show, Busy Tonight.
Town and Country, “The Must Read Books of Spring 2019”
Vulture, New York Magazine, “Spring Books Preview, Fiction We Can’t Wait to Read”
The Farm was featured in the “highbrow”, “brilliant” section of NY Mag’s Approval Matrix: Week of May 13, 2019
Reproduced with permission from © NY Mag
*This article appears in the May 13, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!
Oprah Magazine, “…the Buzziest Books Coming Out in 2019 (so far)”
Wall Street Journal, “The 10 Books You’ll Want to Read this Spring” (recommended by The Skimm)
Refinery 29, “11 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Spring”
Book Riot, “50 Spectacular New Books You Need to Read This Spring”
PopSugar, “28 Buzzy Books to Read This Spring”
The Evening Standard, “The Best Books to Look Forward To in 2019”
The Guardian, “2019 in Books: What You’ll Be Reading This Year”
Ms Magazine, “2019 Reads for the Rest of Us”
Elle UK, “Ones to Watch: The New Writers We’re Excited to Read in 2019”
Cosmopolitan UK, “32 New Books…to Get Excited About in 2019”
Good Housekeeping, “The Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019”
Marie Claire, “The Best Women’s Fiction of 2019 (So Far)”
Debut Novels Everyone Will Be Reading in 2019
BookBub, “The Most Anticipated Books of 2019”
Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2019 Book Preview
Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2019
Huffington Post, “61 Books We’re Looking Forward to Reading in 2019”
Hello Giggles, “The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019…”
Bustle, “5 Female-Centered Dystopian Novels to Read in 2019”
PureWow, “35 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019”
Stylist, “The 10 Books You Need to Add to Your 2019 Reading List”
Deccan Chronicle (India), “2019 Books to Watch Out For”
New York Times Book Review, 14 Books to Watch Out For in May, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/books/new-books-may.html
Washington Post, 10 Books to Read in May: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-10-books-to-read-in-may/2019/04/29/47079d70-6922-11e9-a1b6-b29b90efa879_story.html?utm_term=.828bc69c51d5&noredirect=on
One of AMAZON’s Best Books of May, https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=17276797011
A PEOPLE MAGAZINE “Book of the Week”
USA Today, “Five Books Not to Miss”, https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2019/05/04/5-cant-miss-books-jill-biden-memoir-where-the-light-enters-the-bride-test-upheaval/1090688001/
Marie Claire, The Best Books of 2019 To Add To Your Reading List, https://www.marieclaire.com/culture/g26234148/best-books-2019/
Time.com, the 10 New Books You Should Read in May, http://time.com/5579966/best-books-may-2019/
Oprah Magazine, The Buzziest Book…This May, https://www.oprahmag.com/entertainment/books/a27322182/new-book-releases-may-2019/
Entertainment Weekly, 20 Books to Read in May: “grippingly realistic” :
New York Post, The Best Books of the Week: “A brilliant satire about privilege”, https://nypost.com/2019/05/04/the-best-books-of-the-week-29/
Cup of Jo, 6 Books We’re Reading This Spring: “a cracking, chilling, but also human page-turner” : https://cupofjo.com/2019/05/best-books-spring-2019/?fbclid=IwAR2aNOTNS6zFKyu8vLK5rMmUGr3DHFKAvred8bKXBtOjjF7DDZm_dz8n4jA
Cosmo.com, “The 14 Best Books Coming Out in May 2019”, “The Handmaid’s Tale vibes are strong, but the “holy sh*t this book is genius” vibes are stronger.” https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/g27308560/best-books-may-2019/?slide=6
Refinery29, The Books of 2019…: “a sharp takedown of the idea of American meritocracy”https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/05/231435/best-books-may-2019
LitHub, What to Read this Month: “a must-read” : https://lithub.com/the-astrology-book-club-what-to-read-this-month-based-on-your-sign-6/
Bustle’s New Books…to Add to Your Memorial Day Reading List: https://www.bustle.com/p/45-new-books-coming-out-in-may-2019-to-add-to-your-memorial-day-reading-list-17130948
BookRiot May 2019 Book Recommendations: https://bookriot.com/2019/05/01/may-2019-horoscopes-and-book-recommendations/
Joanne Ramos’ debut novel, The Farm, has a provocative premise: A posh resort in New York’s Hudson Valley offers fine meals and handsome remuneration to women, most of them financially struggling immigrants, willing to live in seclusion from their families and carry a baby to term for wealthy clients. We spoke with Ramos about her work.
Dystopian fiction is a genre that other authors have used to shine a light on the treatment of women. The Handmaid’s Taleis perhaps the most famous example. Did you have previous books in mind that deal with similar topics as you wrote The Farm? And, in general, who are some of your literary influences?
It’s funny: The Farm has been called dystopian by many reviewers and readers, and yet, I didn’t set out to write dystopian fiction. I’m someone who grew up straddling worlds—as a Filipina immigrant to Wisconsin in the late 1970s, as a financial-aid kid at Princeton University, as a woman in the male-dominated world of high finance and as a mother with conflicted feelings about my generation’s zeal to give our children the “best” of everything. I’ve often felt like an outsider in my life—an uncomfortable place to inhabit, sometimes, but outsider-hood does give one a certain distance and perspective. It was this perspective that I wanted to write about in my book. My obsessions sprung from this perspective.
Read the full article
How much would you sacrifice to achieve the American Dream?
Interview and Review of The Farm and Q & A with Joanne Ramos
What could be better than living on sprawling beautiful property in the country, healthy food being served to you, fresh air and exercise, massages and pampering, and a generous, life changing paycheck, while all your needs are being met? The catch…you must stay on the premises and be separated from your family and friends for nine months while you are pregnant with a baby that doesn’t belong to you.
In this stunning debut novel, The Farm, female-centric and slightly dystopian (will be appealing to fans of The Handmaid’s Tale), author Joanne Ramos creates Golden Oaks, a secluded, country club atmosphere in Hudson Valley, NY where mostly foreign women are bearing children for elite clients who are not able to get pregnant or who choose not to.
Jane, a young, single Filipina mom with an infant, no husband and no secure place to live, decides to leave her own baby with her cousin, Ate, and take a job at Golden Oaks, where she will make enough money to better her life. She is chosen to be a Host, living in a luxury house in the middle of the countryside where her only job is to rest and keep the baby inside her healthy. Nine months is a long time to be separated from your family and as time goes on, Jane starts to question the value of that big paycheck versus her sacrifices associated with being away. She is worried about her young daughter and her cousin, and is unsure the money alone is an adequate tradeoff for the painful separation and the missing of milestones.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for a novel centered on a surrogacy farm and do you know anyone that ever worked at one?
A. When I finally dared to commit to writing a book, a childhood dream I’d deferred for decades, I was already forty. Certain ideas had obsessed me for much of my life but finding a way into them—finding the right story to contain them and, also, allow them room to breathe—was difficult. I spent well over a year writing short stories, flash-fiction pieces and “first chapters” of stillborn novels. It was an exercise in persistence and, also, faith. Then one day, when reading my husband’s Wall Street Journal, I happened upon a snippet of an article about a surrogacy facility in India. The what ifs began swirling in my mind almost immediately, and The Farm began to take shape.
I was honored to receive an Agent of Change award in March 2019 from Girls Write Now, a fantastic organization that pairs underserved female students in New York City with mentors and helps them find their voices through the power of writing and community. 90% of the girls in the Girls Write Now program are people of color, 70% are immigrants or first generation, and 90% are high need.
In my keynote address, I spoke to these young women about how publishing The Farm has been a dream come true–but one long deferred due to the stories I told myself.
Joanne Ramos, author of THE FARM, at the Penguin Random House Open Book Event, December 2018.
The Penguin Random House Book Club Kit PDF is now available as an interactive EPub edition. Click here to download the free edition.
Don’t have an E-Reader? Click on the embed below and you can view the pages full-screen on your device.