Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search

Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search

by Martin Sixsmith, Dame Judi Dench


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New York Times Bestseller

The heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for 50 years

When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a “fallen woman.” Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena’s son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother.

A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143126805
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/27/2015
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,196,493
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Martin Sixsmith is the author of several fiction and nonfiction books and is a former BBC journalist and director of communications for the British government. He lives in London.

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Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search (Movie Tie-in) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Philomena is a grand book. The writing is top notch. It is a heartbreaking yet inspirational story. I was a bit surprised by the storyline. I thought it was going to be about a mother’s search for her son, but it was more about the life of the son – rising up in the Republican party, his lifestyle as a gay man, and his battle with AIDS. Even though it was different than what I expected, I still really enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the film so much that i decided to read the book. Mr. Sixsmith unfolds the story with finesse and skill. The film gave a fairly full view of Philomena's experience, but the book reveals an equally well documentation of her son's life, as well. A very good read.
sunnygeorgia More than 1 year ago
It is painful to read what these girls go through and I find myself putting the book down occasionally because it is so sad. It is such a fascinating story!
JanieAslan More than 1 year ago
I recently saw this film then read the book afterward. This is a truly engaging and true story and it shows the heart of love and determination that a mother has for her child. This is a walk through the life of a lady that is honest and open to the reader. This book is well worth the read.
ArleneRae More than 1 year ago
My husband just finished reading this book - and absolutely LOVED it. I have not yet read it; I am in the middle of another book. But, we ordered this book after seeing the movie, Philomena, which we both loved, and which made us curious about the book. The basic difference between the book & the movie, is that the movie is almost entirely from Philomena's perspective. The book concentrates on the experiences of her biological son. So, if you're a fan of the movie, this book rounds out & completes the story. It answers questions the movie may have left you with. I am looking forward to reading the book, but my husband & I are very much in synch regarding our reading, and so I have no doubt I will also highly regard this book. I may write another, more detailed review after I read it, but that may not be for another month or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I too thought the book was going to be about a mothers search for her son. I finished the book and was disappointed in the real storyline. First book I will delete from my Nook!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be about, but very interesting, touching, and educational at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting book with respect to how unwed mothers/adoptions were handled. I was expecting more on Philomena and her search for her son. Not expecting the majority of the book to be about the life of the son.
Tiedeman More than 1 year ago
I found the book very easy to read and so interesting that I did not want to put the book down; however, in my opinion, the main character and storyline of the book is not Philomena, It is her son, his life and eventual search for his mother. Philomena, to me, was a secondary character who was addressed in about 1/4 of the book. I purchased the book after seeing the move trailers and reading about the movie. Based on what I had seen and read, I assumed Philomena would be the main character and the storyline would be about her search for her son.
Guene More than 1 year ago
It is astounding how human beings can bounce back from the merciless persecution by the Catholic Church. Why were they above the law during the baby scoop era of the 1950s and 1960s?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend reading this book and also seeing the movie. Together you will get the whole heartbreaking but beautiful story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totally different from the movie. It gives you a much wider picture of the emotions involved from so many more prospectives.
BeachcomberDC More than 1 year ago
This book was origionally titled " The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee". A more apt title, since the book comes from an entirely different perspective than the movie did. The book primarily takes you through the life of Michael Hess here in America: what his life was like growing up, his relationships with his " sister", his adoptive parents and his new country. His adult life; successes and struggles and his visceral connection with Ireland and his birth Mother. Very little mention of Phillomena as an adult. The book and the movie together paint a more complete picture than the movie alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title and accompanying description of the book indicates it would be a story about Philomena, her dealings with the church during her time of "shame", and how she coped with the removal of her child from her life. Well, it turns out to be the in-depth story of Anthony (Michael), how he was raised, his uncertainties and feeling of rejection, an extreme detail of his sexual preferences and depravity, the onset of the AIDS virus, and the ever changing political climates. Finally in the last 10 pages, in the Prologue, there is a story about Philomena and what became of her life. So title the book what it is: a biography of Michael Hess.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's hard to believe that people could be so cruel to an unwed mother, not to mention her innocent baby. As a society, and the Irish in particular, we have come a long way. I'm not Catholic, so I can't comment on the church.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heartbreaking, compelling story of two lives, the unbeatable link between mother and child, and the power of words. I grieve for them both every time I read their story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historically and tragically accurate, but I found it wrapped in a twisted political and psychotic bundle that left no joy in it's knowledge afterwards-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book completely focuses on the personal and political life of Michael Hess, and tells very little about his mother Philomena or her experience. Had trouble reading through it all. Disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely well written I've seen the movie but had forgotten just how twisted Mother Barbara really was. To deny mother and child the chance to be reunited is a crime, if they both wanted it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title of the book is misleading for this book is not so much about Philomena but rather a biography of her son Anthony/Mike. It is a tragic story of an adopted Irish child, brought up in the U.S., and his struggles with 1) feeling unworthy/bad due to being rejected by his birth mother, as well as 2) his life as a gay man. A sad and tedious tale, but at the same time infuriating because it brings to light the barbaric treatment--condoned by the Catholic Church in Ireland-- of unwed mothers at the Magdalene Laundries.
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