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Philomena: The true story of a mother and the son she had to give away (film tie-in edition) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,747 customer reviews

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Length: 433 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Book Description

Philomena is now a major film starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, directed by Stephen Frears

Book Description

When she fell pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent of Roscrea, Co. Limerick, to be looked after as a ‘fallen woman’ and at the age of three her baby was whisked away and ‘sold’ to America for adoption. Coerced into signing a document promising ‘Never to Seek to Know’ what the Church did with him, she never saw him again. She would spend the next fifty years searching for her son, unaware that he spent his life searching for her. Philomena's son, renamed Michael Hess, grew up to be a top lawyer and then a Republican politician in the first Bush administration. But he was also gay and in 1980s Washington being out and proud was not an option. He not only 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 in which he was born to plead with the nuns to tell him who his mother was, so that he might see her before he died. They refused. The Lost Child of Philomena Lee is the story of a mother and a son, whose lives were blighted by the forces of hypocrisy on both sides of the Atlantic and of the secrets they were forced to keep. A compelling narrative of human love and loss, Martin Sixsmith's moving account is both heartbreaking yet ultimately redemptive.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6413 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (10 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 1,747 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,867 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I loved the beginning of this book with the descriptions of Philomena in the convent with her new baby, Anthony. It was so Irish, it was moving and it was heartbreaking. From the moment Anthony left, I longed for them to be reunited.

Having finished the book, I find the description a little deceiving. Philomena isn't the tale of the search of a mother for the son she was forced to give away, and once the adoption has actually taken place it isn't even the story of Philomena. I would have loved to have known more about Philomena's own quest and her life after Anthony was taken from her. However, Philomena does not actually feature again until the very end of the book. I guess the original title to the book, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee: A Mother, Her Son and a Fifty Year Search is slightly more accurate, but not totally.

I was constantly waiting and expecting "the search" to begin. Anthony (who subsequently becomes Mike) visits Ireland twice, but I cannot really describe what he does there as searching for his mother. Yes, within the book he talks about finding his mother, and it is clear that he wants to, but his actions are not what I would call "a lifelong search for his mother".

As this is what I had been expecting from the book, I did begin to find the seemingly endless life story of Anthony/Mike a little repetitive and tedious after a while. The book is heavily based on his life as a gay man and his career, leading to a focus on a homosexual lifestyle and American politics. Whilst it was interesting, it isn't what I had entirely expected, and I just wanted that little bit extra from it.

That said, I must emphasize that I really did enjoy the book as a whole.
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Format: Paperback
If you think you are going to read Philomena's story - You are wrong. This is Michael Hess ( Antony) story. It centres on his journey through life feeling rejected and alone. He embarks on a career in Law which takes him to the Whitehouse, rubbing shoulders with the President, and partying in Gay Bars, progressing to a life that includes a sordid and depraved side, often pushing aside those that come to love him and selling out fellow friends and associates that are homesexual to further his career, and save himself from public humiliation.You have every sympathy for his situation, and his lost identity, but he did have a good family, a mum who loved him, and a sister that shared his past and present life.His attempts to find his real Mum were rather half hearted in my opinion, and he didn't really appreciate the love and education that his adoptive family provided.
It is an emotive subject, and I really wanted to read Philomena's story and how it affected her. Unfortunately this book does not cover her story at all. Maybe I will have to watch the film, but I do feel the title of the book is misleading.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book a compelling read. From the moment I picked it up, I found it hard to put down. I liked the style of writing and the sensitive portrayal of the characters meant it was easy to be drawn in. It wasn't Philomena's story, however, it was her son's, but his struggles and the prejudices he faced throughout his life provided a harrowing tale made all the more poignant by the fact it was a true story. I challenge any reader not to empathise with Philomena and the love she had for her son, living in constant dread that he would be taken from her. The manner of his removal and what could possibly have gone through the mind of such a young child at that time still brings a lump to my throat and causes me to hold my children that little bit tighter.

I don't want to say much more and spoil people's reading but Anthony/Michael's story is a real education in prejudice and the struggles of one man who couldn't conform in an unforgiving society. I was appalled at the narrow minded and medieval attitudes of the Catholic Church, American society and political institutions. I think there was an element of bias from the author towards the Church, Michael's adoptive father and some others but that is for people to decide themselves.

This is an excellent book and I recommend it to all.
Comment 27 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition
I feel that this book should have been called Anthony or Michael A Hess. I bought the book expecting to read about Philomena's search for her son but I was badly disappointed. The book did cover Anthony/Michael's birth and the dreadful way in which he was taken from his mother. But the main bulk of the book is about his life in America following his adoption and the last few pages are about Philomena's search for her son. I was very disappointed.

The author states at the end that there is another story to come another day about Antony/Michael's father - I won't be buying that one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have already seen the film twice, and I found that the book filled in all or most of the blanks about how the children fared with their adoptive parents, and gave a much more informative insight into their adult lives, Mary, with her husband and family, and Anthony renamed Michael by his adoptive parents, his life although succesful as far as academia was concerned and his employment within the political situation in the USA. I also felt that it gave a tremendous insight into the turmoils which he suffered because of his mother giving him up, was that really true, or could he find her and speak to her to have so many questions answered. The narrative concerning his personal lifestyle which sadly ended in AIDS was extremely interesting and gave an insight into the American Government's attitude towards homosexuality and the ensuing.health problems. I purchased the book because I had thoroughly enjoyed the film with it's excellent cast and fully expected it to be the narrative of the movie, instead I found that I had purchased a concise and interesting book which showed up the problems in Ireland with regard to unmarried pregnancies and the problems for the mothers and their babies at that time in recent history, and a very forthright and revealing narrative about American political happenings and the effect on members of the public who were homophobic, and the in depth cover of Michael/Anthony's life, a very emotional read. It wasn't what I expected to read when I purchsed the Kiindle edition of Philomena, but what a tremendous read it turned out to be, and I am so glad that I have been filled in on all the parts which the film omitted
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