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Customer Review

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Unbalanced Book, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: The Lost Child of Philomena Lee: A Mother, Her Son and a Fifty Year Search (Kindle Edition)
I saw the film 'Philomena' before I read this book, which may have been a mistake, although I am not sure about that. When I got to the end of the book, my over-riding feeling was that Martin Sixsmith was not the right journalist to have been given to job of telling this story. The film attacks the story from the point of view of a mother in Ireland in the fifties, who had her son forcibly removed from her when he was three years old and given away in adoption to America. The film charts her journey to try and find him fifty years later. The book, on the other hand, pays little attention to the mother's story, apart from some detail leading up to the child's adoption, and it is all written from the point of view of the son, who was adopted by an American couple, and it follows his rise to an exalted position in the Reagan government as a legal adviser. I expect that Martin Sixsmith had little interest in a relatively uneducated Irish woman, who was just looking for her son. It comes over loud and clear in the book that his fascination was only with the political aspects of the story - probably understandable as he is, after all, a political journalist and one who was in Washington at the time that the son was rising through the political ranks. The book is 420 pages long and I read on and on, expecting it to be a story in two halves - one of the mother and one of the son. However, 405 pages are devoted to what became of the son and a miserly 15 pages rushes through the mother's quest to find her lost son. Why the book is called 'The Lost Child of Philomena Lee' is beyond me. It should have been called 'A biography of Michael Hess' (Anthony Lee became Michael Hess when he was adopted). I get the feeling that the scriptwriter of the film felt the same as me after reading the book and he tried to redress the balance by making the film very much from the point of view of the mother - a good and just move in my opinion. I gave this book three stars because it is very well written. I didn't give it more stars because the book is biased and unbalanced and is, in my view, a let down in the end. My advice is to read the book and also see the film, because that way you probably get a more complete picture of the truth of the story.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Apr 2015 13:28:03 BDT
Berrycat says:
This person needs to read the book 'Philomena' which is also by Martin Sixsmith and which the film was based on.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2016 22:46:43 GMT
Judith Owen says:
Thanks. I was just deciding which version to read,

Posted on 27 Feb 2016 20:31:02 GMT
Mavee says:
must be the most helpful comment ever regarding a book ..... thanks

Posted on 6 Mar 2016 09:53:37 GMT
L. Bell says:
Not an unbalanced book. It is the other side of the story of Philomena and Michael. Philomena's story was to in the book Philomema, also by Martin Sixsmith,and that is the one the film was based on.
My advice is to read both books.

Posted on 27 Mar 2016 18:58:53 BDT
I totally agree with the review by Granfan. I also saw the film before reading the book. I agree with Granfan when he says he feels Martin Sixsmith had little interest in Philomena herself. He came over to me as opinionated, and keen to show everyone how clever he is. To this end, throughout the book, he used a good number of words the average [even above average] reader would not understand.
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