Finished The Farm by Joanne Ramos.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money—more than you’ve ever dreamed of—to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.
Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery—or worse.
Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.”
This is such a fascinating book and it centers around the way that we (as a society) can now outsource everything we don’t want to do. Don’t want to go to the grocery store? They can be delivered, either from the store itself or Amazon Prime Now (or Amazon Fresh, if you spend that $14 a month). Food and alcohol can also be delivered, thanks to any one of a number of apps. Surrogate pregnancies are already a thing, but Golden Oaks takes it a step further with its sequestering the Hosts and giving them a luxury (but strictly regimented) life while they’re carrying the pregnancies.
Interestingly enough, we never learn just how much the women are paid for doing this. It’s a life-changing amount of money, but I’m guessing that it’s probably not quite as much money as we would think, because it seems like a lot of the Hosts still need to work afterward.
This is ideal for book clubs because there are going to be some great conversations centered around this book. (My own book club is discussing it tonight, and I can’t wait.) There’s a lot going on with classism, especially, but it also ties in with issues of race, of course.