Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’


I have frequently seen The Farm referred to as a dystopian novel, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. It feels both horrific in many ways, and also extraordinarily close to reality. The titular Farm is Golden Oaks surrogacy centre, where rich women who maybe can’t have children, but often just don’t want pregnancy to ruin their figure (or they somehow feel they don’t have the time to be pregnant) pay vast sums of money for other women – typically women from a poor background – to carry their child. The Farm monitors it’s hosts every move – by video feed, ‘wellbands’ – basically a GPS tracker, and checking of their post and emails. Personal phones and computers are confiscated, and any transgression of the Farm’s strict rules result in a financial penalty, whereby the hosts lose part of their payment.

Jane is a Filipino woman, short of money and in need of a job to support herself and her baby daughter, and the Farm seems a good way to do that. But being apart from her child while carrying the child of an anonymous client takes its toll.

The books raises questions surrounding race, class and exploitation, and while I found it an absorbing and interesting read, it made me very angry at times. That’s probably the point. I liked Jane and her friend Reagan, who features heavily in the book, while I was not so keen on Jane’s aunt Evelyn, or Mae Yu, who ran the Farm for an extortionate salary. But despite the moral ambiguity of Evelyn and Mae, they were represented as believable and nuanced characters, as indeed were most of the others in the story.

So no, I would not necessarily class this is as a dystopian novel, but if you do like books in that genre, I would recommend it. Either way, it was certainly a thought provoking and emotive read.


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Emma George has a job in TV, which is less exciting than it sounds, and a long term boyfriend Ned, who is less reliable than a boyfriend should be. And then she finds herself accidentally pregnant in the same week that she loses her job, and breaks up with Ned.

She is lucky enough to inherit a cottage and find temporary work, and an accidental lodger, but she still realises that soon she is going to be wholly responsible for another person, and things are going to have to change…


I listened to the audiobook of this novel, narrated by Rosie Jones. I would have to say that the narration was excellent; unfortunately that’s the only thing that I *can* say was excellent. My main issue is that clearly the reader/listener is supposed to identify with Emma and root for her, and…well, she is just a terribly selfish, judgemental and spiteful human being. Horrible human beings can make for interesting main characters but the reader/listener is supposed to be well aware that they are horrible characters; we are not supposed to be expected to support their behaviour!

This started out quite amusing in parts, but what ruined it for me was when Emma constantly fat-shamed another character. Martha’s size and eating habits were completely irrelevant to the story, yet literally every sentence that mentioned her (and there were a LOT) made an unkind reference to the character’s weight. Furthermore, when Martha correctly chastised Emma for not doing her job properly, Emma videoed Martha after she had had sex with someone, and then blackmailed her with the footage top stop Martha reporting Emma’s behaviour. And we were supposed to think this was hilarious!

Additionally, Ned was just the most feckless and unreliable boyfriend, who stole Emma’s money after sponging off her for years, had not contributed any money towards rent or living costs, and preferred dreaming up ultimately unsuccessful get-rich-schemes with his mate. When one such scheme accidentally works out, all of a sudden Ned is painted as a wonderful character and an example to us all not to give up on your dreams.

I listened to the end, because I was too far in to give up before I realised what a truly selfish character Emma was and because of the narration. However, although I would certainly listen to more books narrated by Rosie Jones, I won’t be checking out any more books written by this author.




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Last year I read ‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion – a hugely enjoyable book, of which you can see my review here. This book is the follow-up, and sees Don and Rosie now living in New York, and Rosie pregnant. In addition, Don’s friend Gene has broken up with his wife and comes to New York to stay with them – which doesn’t please Rosie.

Don is shaken by Rosie’s pregnancy as it was not planned, and Rosie is worried about Don’s suitability as a father. The couple find themselves facing problems which they are not sure how to work out.

Although Don’s character has grown slightly since the first book, he is still painfully literally and brutally honest, which often leads to misunderstandings or offence. The book is narrated by Don, so we do see his point of view in a way which we wouldn’t if it were told in the third person…that said, it would be interesting to see the same events from Rosie’s side!

I enjoyed the book a lot, but probably not as much as the first one. For a while the story seemed to go round in circles, and I just wanted it to be resolved one way or the other. However, there were still plenty of humorous moments – and indeed some touching moments – which kept my interest. Overall I would say that if you enjoyed the first book, you should give this one a try.

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