Customer Reviews


1,151 Reviews
5 star:
 (666)
4 star:
 (236)
3 star:
 (145)
2 star:
 (62)
1 star:
 (42)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
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...
Published 5 months ago by Di

versus
88 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading!
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...
Published 8 months ago by N. J. Dearing


‹ Previous | 1 2116 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 23 Mar 2014
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


88 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading!, 8 Jan 2014
By 
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good read, 11 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Philomena (Kindle Edition)
Much more detail about Michael Hess and his sister Mary , less focus on Philomena the Abbey comes out even worse than the film. Have just read Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - fictional /fact about transporting homeless children from the streets of Manhattan to the mid west US to work on farms and as house slaves
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended, 21 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Philomena (Kindle Edition)
The book is much more comprehensive than the film. Philomena, touching story and politically interesting too, a good read and well written.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the film but the book is even better., 6 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Philomena (Kindle Edition)
The book gives so much more information and insight into the life of Anthony Lee. The sad toll that his perceived rejection had upon Anthony's life is sensitively explored and one is left feeling so sad that he never knew of his mother's continued longing and the quest to find him.
The book is also a secondary source of historical information about the prejudice and at best ambivalence experienced by the gay community in America particularly with the advent of HIV and AIDS.
Last but not least is the important story that needed to be told of the Church's role in exploiting young women and their babies as recently as the 1960s and 70s.
Thank you to Martin Sixsmith and to Philomena for giving us this truly heart wrenching book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A huge disappointment, 22 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anyone buying this book expecting to read a account of a mother's search for her lost son, either on the basis of its title or after seeing the film, should prepare themselves to be hugely disappointed and frustrated. With the exception of a few pages at the end it does not tell the story of Philomena Lee's search for Anthony/Michael. The book is essentially a biography of Michael Hess but it is written almost in the style of a novel. The style is the other issue I have because it results in much of the content taking the form of surmised situations and conversations rather than providing a documentary narrative of Michael's life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as expected, 16 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I saw the film first then bought the book on the strength of it.I was greatly moved by the film because it concentrated on Philomena's desperately sad quest to find her son over many years ,only to discover the highs and the lows of his life with the help of the journalist ,Martin Sixsmith.
The book , initially, told us about her pitiful plight as a young unmarried mother in Ireland ,making one feel fully involved emotionally with her suffering in Roscrea.
Unfortunately, when it moves on to Mike's life in America , after describing his difficult relationship with "Doc" and his feelings about being adopted it becomes bogged down in a huge chunk of the book detailing his adult life . Unless you are interested in the recent history of American politics and the Gay Rights movement then it becomes very slow and tedious,i found myself skipping over this part and I can't remember it featuring very much at all in the film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but some flaws..., 4 Aug 2014
This review is from: Philomena (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. It sounds as though I did not as I seem to have so many niggles but I really did.

The major flaw with this particular version of the book (and this is not the author's fault at all) and one that my mum was extremely unhappy about, is that of the photographs that feature in the middle of the book. Some of these photos ruin the ending to the book, and for my mum, who didn't know the outcome, it ruined the book. I had a heads up so didn't look at the photographs until after I had finished the book, but had I not known, I too would have been angered to discover the ending only part way through the book. So if you're reading this version of the book, and you haven't seen the film, beware.....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warning do not look at photos until you finish the book., 23 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very well written book which I enjoyed immensely. However as other's have pointed out it is not so much Philomena's search for her son but her son's story. One word of warning - do not look at the photographs until you have read the book otherwise you will be aware of the story before you read it, this spoilt it somewhat for me hence not five stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensitively written story of our recent history, 17 Jan 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I watched the film which was superb., I needed to read the book which tells this true story in so much more detail than the film. I remember Martin Sixsmith as a superb journalist. He raises the issues of inhuman behaviour over many years by those involved in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland and the children's homes where pregnant single young girls were taken to give birth. They 'paid for their sins' by slaving on tasks such as working in the laundry. Martin's research leads to the discovery of the adoption of these babies and traces the story of a small boy. Subsequent enquiries led to wilful withholding of information. A second theme is the political system in USA where this boy was taken for adoption and we follow the devious political 'response' to the crisis of HIV/Aids.

There is so much more in the book than the film which should be read by all interested in social and political history, and theology. As a Christian, I am ashamed of the activities carried out in the name of Christ who came to bring Good News to the Poor.and needy. I would recommend 'Nevertheless' by John Kirkby which tells the true story of how he founded "Christians Against Poverty"..
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2116 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Philomena
Philomena by Martin Sixsmith
£1.19
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews