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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 10 April 2017
I think the book's name is extremely misleading. I expected an exploration of the mother's feelings about her lost child, but the account of Philomena herself ends very early in the book. The early part was interesting, but soon the bookbecomes simply the lifestory of her son, complete with detailed accounts of his homosexuality and his job in the Republican administration. Moreoever, I felt the writing was very pedestrian, all tell and no show... Some people may find the extensive descriptions of US politics etc interesting, but they are hardly what the book promised! Very disappointing!
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on 4 September 2017
These Catholic monastics - they perform their Divine Office 6 times a day and go into altered states of consciousness from that. And yet in the process they learn no kindness, and instead become institutionalised, judgemental and personally irresponsible.

Philomena is just one witness to centuries of child migrations by all the churches, not just Catholics. Lying and unkindness was part and parcel with these migrations, where every effort was made to prevent migrated children from reuniting with their parents.

Well done on telling your story Philomena, and the sooner that all religions and all externally imposed Authority get done away with, the better chance we have of finding real life and love.
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on 28 February 2014
This book had me in tears, angry at times and confused too as why all this had to happen... It reminded me of a book I read called, The Rabbit proof fence" which was the story of Australia's lost generation and the film, Australia which also depicted the Churches efforts to cover up the plight of the children in Australia who were born to Aboriginal women by white men.. So many Mothers deprived of seeing their children grow and develop. So much heartache as children were taken away from loving arms and "given better lives with so called stable families in other countries". We know now of course that adoption needs to be handled with great care so that the right people are chosen to look after the many children who are genuinely orphaned and that the right of those children to know about their background and roots is paramount for their well being...

Such a cruel world seems to have been conjured by the Church... I am sure to some extent they tried to reason that these young girls could not look after their children or give them a stable life and their intentions to some level were made out of love for the children. However, to tell these girls that they were sinners and would burn in hell without giving them the knowledge of a loving God who would if they truly asked and repented would forgive them of their sins and cleanse them was cruel and misleading... I fear that those Nuns involved covered up their own sins of cruelty to these girls and babies left themselves in satans firing line... There are no winners here...

I sincerely hope that all our Governments involved in these dealings have learned a valuable lesson and the Catholic Church itself has learnt this lesson too. It is never right to judge a person by their sin or browbeat them into abiding by the rules that they themselves put into place... Only God has the right to judge us...
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on 16 February 2014
I would have liked to read more about Philomena's search rather than her son's tedious political career and rampant sex life. Although depressing, the first part of the book was good, educating me as to the treatment of unwed pregnant women in Ireland during this period of history. Also done well, were the childhood years of Michael and his sister. Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. Both depressing and boring, I'm afraid I started to skip large sections of the political commentary. While I understand Michael's role within the American political system is integral to his story, there was far too much of this narrative for anyone not interested in American politics. Ultimately depressing, I can't even agree with the review saying the last chapter needs to be read in private because it is so emotional. Sorry, when a book is filled with so much misery already, by the time you reach the end, you've become habituated to it. I certainly won't seek out the film. Life is too short to deliberately fill with the darkness of Michael Hess.
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on 25 December 2013
The book is a well written moving example of life as was in the 1950's and examines the way people deal with control in the guise of religious righteousness and political correctness, with complete lack of concern for the civil liberties and welfare of vulnerable young Irish girls and the effect on their children, and themselves, as they experience the trauma of society's will for their 'own good'! The story is told with compassion and understanding a takes you on a journey of true hope with underlying inevitability filled with trepidation along the way. To think that people could act in this way and on such a scale, in supposedly modern countries is beyond moral belief. My underlying thought is that this is probably still going on today? I have not seen the film, as yet, but I will certainly be looking forward to doing so.
An excellent book that was a compulsive read and caused me to think deeply of the way we look at people with unjustified belief in our own righteousness.
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I thought this book would be more about adoption but found it mainly about the politics of the time.It begins with the story of two pregnant young girls and their treatment by the nuns in a home for unmarried moms in Ireland.I was really surprised by a lot of things that went on within the Catholic church at the time, and certainly not good things.
It then follows the two babies to America and how they were brought up and how one of them has a political career. He discovers that he is `Gay` which takes another turn of events telling the secrecy behind it at the time. Eventually they decide to return to Ireland to try and discover what really happened when they were young. A very interesting and a real eyeopener read.
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on 19 May 2015
Antony Lee's life after being forcibly removed from his mother. I just can't understand why the Hess family went to so much trouble in adopting them when they seemed to lack in parental warmth. Doc in particular treated the children as commodities, wanting to send Mary packing thinking she was "defective", and them both expecting them to arrive in America as fully adjusted! It beggars belief, even in the 50's! And to not tell them about their early life in the convent, and how their mothers loved them was cruel in the extreme. No wonder they grew up with feelings of worthlessness.
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on 22 May 2017
I had heard of this story when it was made into a film and have now got around to reading it. It was not as I expected but an interesting tale.

Martin Sixsmith writes about Anthony, who was adopted, and a little about how mother and son tried to come to terms with their separation. They each knew they had to find one another.

The Catholic Church does not come out of this very well. Is it enough to say that's how things were in Ireland? I'm not sure.
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on 23 June 2017
An excellent film. Well acted, well written and tells an important story. I preferred it to the book which is not something I would usually say.
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on 11 March 2017
This is heartbreaking stuff. It is sensitively written and paints the characters in this very well indeed.
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