Philomena: A Mother, Her Son & A Fifty Year Search by Martin SixsmithPhilomena: A Mother, Her Son & A Fifty Year Search by Martin Sixsmith

Philomena: A Mother, Her Son & A Fifty Year Search

byMartin Sixsmith

Paperback | October 10, 2013

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Philomena is now a major film starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, directed by Stephen FrearsWhen she fell pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent at Roscrea in Co. Tipperary to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him from her and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption. Coerced into signing a document promising never to attempt to see her child again, she nonetheless spent the next fifty years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic. Philomena's son, renamed Michael Hess, grew up to be a top Washington lawyer and a leading Republican official in the Reagan and Bush administrations. But he was a gay man in a homophobic party where he had to conceal not only his sexuality but, eventually, the fact that he had AIDs. With little time left, he returned to Ireland and the convent where he was born: his desperate quest to find his mother before he died left a legacy that was to unfold with unexpected consequences for all involved. Philomena is the tale of a mother and a son whose lives were scarred by the forces of hypocrisy on both sides of the Atlantic and of the secrets they were forced to keep. With a foreword by Judi Dench, Martin Sixsmith's book is a compelling and deeply moving narrative of human love and loss, both heartbreaking yet ultimately redemptive.
Martin Sixsmith was born in Cheshire and educated at Oxford, Harvard and the Sorbonne. From 1980 to 1997 he worked for the BBC as the Corporation's correspondent in Moscow, Washington, Brussels and Warsaw. From 1997 to 2002 he worked for the Government as Director of Communications and Press Secretary first to Harriet Harman, then to A...
Title:Philomena: A Mother, Her Son & A Fifty Year SearchFormat:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 7.5 × 6.53 × 1.17 inPublished:October 10, 2013Publisher:Pan MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1447245229

ISBN - 13:9781447245223

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful I found the book and movie to be vastly different, where the book focuses more on Michael's life and the movie centres on Philomena's search for her lost son. Although I liked them both immensely, the book provided a heck of a lot more pertinent information into the life of Michael Hess. The story is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, and it is easy to get wrapped up in the emotional journey of Philomena and Michael.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Philomena A super read but very sad for both philomena and anthony on not uniting before his death and the catholic church greedy and disgraceful
Date published: 2015-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful story Awesome and made me cry. So sad to see what the girls went through, such strength to give up a child. Breaks my heart
Date published: 2015-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Startling After all of the revelations regarding the Catholic Church,this book brings a personal insight to a generations struggle against the society in which they took the blame.
Date published: 2015-10-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from philomenia should have a different title. Its about Michael Hess, not his mother. Was a little boring first off, hard to get into but otherwise well written. Very sad.
Date published: 2015-10-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring It was so boring had no plot dosent get interesting till the 7th chapter dont recomend it ..........
Date published: 2015-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Interesting read. Saw the movie first. Liked the more personal aspects of the book and inclusion of the sister and the church philosophy. Real insights into being a gay man during the 80s AIDS crisis.
Date published: 2015-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read A book that kept me very interested to tbe last page, especially knowing it was a true story. Well written. Handled sensitive issues tactfully and with grace. One needs to be open minded and accept that it is the story of actual people.
Date published: 2015-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Philomena, a sad story I found this to be a very disturbing but interesting book. The church had so many times to make it right but didn't. For that, a young girl and then her baby had to suffer their whole lives. This book was so well written, it was very easy to place yourself in their shoes. I couldn't stop reading the story, but had weepy eyes quite a bit of the time. I know it wasn't just the Catholic church who treated young girls who got pregnant without even understanding how that happened at that time. Here in BC when I was a girl the pregnant girls were sent away and mostly returned without their babies. They were shamed for their predicament but really, we weren't taught then what it was we weren't supposed to do, just like Philomena. So many were just lucky not to wind up in the same situation!
Date published: 2015-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Michael Weis Well written, interesting politics..........................................................................................................................................
Date published: 2015-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing If you are okay with having your heart torn in two, read this book. Incredibly moving and powerful. I've never read anything like it. So much happiness though, from such a sad beginning.
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Phillomena It was a slow start to this book, it took me several weeks to get into it. However I'm glad I kept pushing through, such a great, heartbreaking story. The pictures really hit the reality of it home.
Date published: 2015-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Philomena I saw the movie and loved it. One of my friends mentioned that the book was very good and even though I saw the movie, I should read it. Well eventually I did and I highly recommend this book. It was not only informative but enjoyable as well. It follows the life of the young boy who was taken away from his mother in Ireland and sent to America to be adopted into a family there. We follow his life all the way to its' conclusion and we see how he spent his adult life trying in vain to discover who his mother was and why she gave him up. In the movie we see only the mother's quest to find her son. I am so glad that I finally did read this book.
Date published: 2015-02-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Philomena An interesting book about 1950's irish adoption and 1970-1990's washington,dc. It should not be Called philomena, as it is mostly about michael.
Date published: 2015-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better than the movie! I saw the movie first and liked it so decided to read the book to get more of the story. Learning more about the son's life made the book worth the read!
Date published: 2015-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unforgettable An unbelievable true that you know that you will have to read again...So sad that this young man lived his whole life searching to belong, because his roots were denied to him...everyone should read this book.
Date published: 2015-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Philomena Absolutely excellent. As a mother and grandmother, very hard to accept that this happened to so many Irish moms and babies. Good for Michael, he rose above his humble beginnings, but so sad he didn't realize his dream.
Date published: 2015-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Philomena Loved it! Based on a true story!!
Date published: 2014-11-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Philomena Good story a lot different from the movie.
Date published: 2014-11-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Philomena Style. A bit superficial
Date published: 2014-11-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Philomena Too Political for me, loved the beginning, and shed a tear at the end, not what I expected, it is about Anthony's struggles nit Philomenas.
Date published: 2014-10-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from False advertising in publishing. Attention: Spoiler Alert. I completely agree with the review by Cathy Nolan: this book is not what it says it is. I did not see the movie but I read the back liner of the book and thought I was buying a book about researching for a lost son, a sort of investigation or mystery. What a disappointment. The first section about Philomena together with her son is very interesting though. If you're interested in the day to day life of a homosexual with all the anxiety plus the stress of being in the closet this is a good book for you. Pages 188 throgh 433 is only about the son. If you're looking for " Philomena and her search for the son she never stopped loving." forget it. I only finished it because I wanted to see how this long, boring 452 page novel ended. I don't know if the publisher wrote the back liner or the authour but this is an outright rip-off.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A heartbreaking reality Interested in reading the novel before seeing the movie adaptation, I bought Philomena with high hopes. In short, it did not disappoint. Readers get a in-depth look into the life of Michael A. Hess as he travels through life as a displaced orphan. Learning more about the politics at the time and the treatment of those living with AIDS in a rather conservative America broke my heart. Knowing that the story rings with truth throughout the novel's entirety, made the novel all the more real. I highly recommend the novel to anyone looking for a great read.
Date published: 2014-04-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The story is not what the title promises. Compellingly disappointing. This was branded as "The Poignant true story of a mother and the son she gave away". This is not the story the book delivers. It is the story of the son rather than the mother. The first pages detail the plight of Philomena, the birth of Anthony, the abhorrent influence the Catholic Church's stance had on unmarried pregnant mothers, their illegitimate children and ultimately, the unlawful removal of her son by those dedicated to a life of chastity, poverty and obedience. But this book does NOT recount the story of Philomena, it is almost entirely the story of her son's journey through his life as a lost immigrant, an orphan struggling to come to terms with his perception of abandonment by his birth mother and his struggle for acceptance in every aspect of his adult life. The book documents Michael's (Anthony's) conscious desire to fit in with his new family at the enormous expense of his emotional well-being. It chronicles his early education, his naive but questioning experience of teenage love and eventually although somewhat laboriously, his journey through the corridors of his early political career. The reader is given access to Micheal's convoluted thinking patterns including an explanation of his complex, negative and repetitive self-destructive behaviour. The part Philomena plays in the book is confined to the first 93 pages and the last four. To give an example of what the reader is not getting, the book has 452 pages, so I don't need to do the math for you. In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm Irish, born two years later than Anthony and I was raised Catholic in Northern Ireland. There are parts of this book that resonate with me: some of my school friends disappeared overnight and were never heard from again, a conclusion was often jumped to that the family had left because of "The Troubles" But as I read this with the knowledge and maturity of my 56 years, I am left with more questions than answers about the role the Church played in those years. The book is extremely well-written however, getting back to my main point, it is not the story of Philomena. But then, who would read a book or make a movie about an Irish immigrant, his struggle with established biases, his glorious political career and his attempt to reach his birth mother? Maybe me, if that's how it had been branded.
Date published: 2014-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This was a tear jerker. I am so glad I bought this book.It proved to be a great read and well worth the price.
Date published: 2014-02-10