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

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

Martin Sixsmith
3.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)

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“The extraordinary story of an extraordinary woman . . . Philomena’s tale is special. . . . It reveals a remarkable human being with astonishing fortitude and a truly humbling willingness to forgive. . . . I hope Philomena’s heroic search and her courage in allowing her story to be told will bring comfort to all who have suffered a similar fate.” —Judi Dench, from the Foreword

“A searingly poignant account of forced adoption and its consequences.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Riveting . . . Sixsmith chillingly recounts . . . this mother-and-son saga.” —Publishers Weekly

“Emotionally compelling.” —Library Journal

“A powerful testament to the strength of the bond between mother and child.” —Shelf Awareness

“Heartbreaking . . . a story that needed to be told.” —The Independent

“Delves into a woman’s grief with restraint and sensitivity.” Independent on Sunday

“The touching story of a mother’s fifty-year search for her son.” Sunday Times (London)


Now a major film, called Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and directed by Stephen Frears.

When she fell pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to the convent at Roscrea in Co. Tipperary to be looked after as a fallen woman. She cared for her baby for three years until the Church took him from her and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption. Coerced into signing a document promising never to attempt to see her child again, she nonetheless spent the next fifty years secretly searching for him, unaware that he was searching for her from across the Atlantic. Philomena's son, renamed Michael Hess, grew up to be a top Washington lawyer and a leading Republican official in the Reagan and Bush administrations. But he was a gay man in a homophobic party where he 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 where he was born: his desperate quest to find his mother before he died left a legacy that was to unfold with unexpected consequences for all involved.

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee is the tale of a mother and a son whose lives were scarred 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.


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3.7 von 5 Sternen
3.7 von 5 Sternen
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fesselnd, ergreifend und gut geschrieben 6. Januar 2014
Von TeeCee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch ist wirklich sehr gut geschrieben. Es greift ein sensibles Thema auf, ohne auf die Tränendrüse zu drücken. Obwohl sehr viel über amerikanische Politik geschrieben wird, ist es keinesfalls langweilig oder schwierig. Ich war sehr positiv überrascht und kann das Buch nur weiter empfehlen!

Zum Inhalt selbst kann man nur fassungslos den Kopf schütteln.

Der kleine Anthony wird im Alter von 3 Jahren gegen den Willen seiner Mutter in die USA adoptiert, und versucht Zeit seines Lebens, seine Identität zu finden. Dies ist eng an die Suche nach seiner Mutter geknüpft und ein hervorragendes Beispiel dafür, dass Kinder wissen müssen, woher sie kommen, auch wenn sie bei einer liebevollen Adoptivfamilie aufwachsen. Inzwischen in Michael umbenannt, sucht er verzweifelt nach seiner Mutter, die in Irland ebenso nach ihm sucht. Leider wird die Suche von der Kirche in jeder Hinsicht behindert...

Die 50er Jahre waren eine andere Zeit und die katholische Kirche scheint in einer Parallelwelt zu agieren... Die hier beschriebene Adoptionspraxis sieht schon stark nach Menschenhandel aus. Das Buch lässt einen den Kopf schütteln und stellenweise wütend werden, vermeidet aber, plakativ anzuklagen. Des Weiteren wird durch Michaels Rolle in der amerikanischen Politik die bigotte Scheinwelt der Politik aufgezeigt und es ist schon fast lustig, wie es eigentlich hinter den Kulissen aussieht.

Noch eine Bemerkung am Rande: Bei Michaels Suche wird einem erst einmal bewusst, wie einfach wir es heutzutage haben. Einfach ins Internet und schon hat man Adresse und Telefonnummer... Nicht nur einmal habe ich spontan gedacht "Guck doch einfach bei Google!" :)

Ein ganz starkes Buch, das ich sicher irgendwann noch einmal lesen werde!! Ich freue mich auf den Film!
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The author has clothed the outline of this story with "reimagined" details. A leaner version that stuck to the facts and did not embellish by over-dramatising the main character's private and professional life with imagined events / dialogues would have been better. I found some of the obviously imagined dialogues / events not believable and this has been confirmed by interviews with the main character's partner featured in The Guardian / New York Times etc. The portrayal of main character's inner alienated state, in early childhood, did however come across as believable. Other obviously invented details to demonstrate the alienating influence of family, church etc did not ring true.

The author also seems to have uses the book as a teaching vehicle about Washington politics especially vis-à-vis Gerrymandering, and policy (or non-policy) concerning gay rights and the Aids epidemic. The detail pads the book out - but detracts from the essential main narrative - the consequences of a badly handled adoption / the search for the birth family.

The psychological state of an adoptee who never feels he "belongs" is captured well, and forms the impetus for the main character's (Mike) search for his mother. But the search features less than does Mike's career path / love-life in Washington.

In summary the book buries a good story in various diversions and digressions (which would have fitted well in a straight novel). Either a straight novel or straight, factual account would have been better. The re-imagining does not work.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen must see 28. Februar 2014
Von Luissa D
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
beautifully acted - so worth seeing - shows us the importance of not giving up - terrible to think of the many people out there who had wanted to find their mother / their child - who had wanted to keep or take back their child - but were prevented by someone who "knows better". i hope we have learned something!
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.9 von 5 Sternen  1.158 Rezensionen
297 von 310 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen This book is fiction 3. März 2014
Von Brennagh - Veröffentlicht auf
As a person who was interviewed for this book and who appears as a "character" in it, I believe this book should be categorized as fiction. The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, written by Martin Sixsmith, was originally published in 2009. After the success of the movie Philomena, the book was reissued with a new title. By now, everyone knows that the book tells the tragic story of Philomena Lee, who had an illegitimate child in the early 1950s while living at an abbey run by nuns in Ireland. An American couple adopted her son, Anthony Lee, when he was 3 years old and renamed him Michael Hess. Philomena and Michael were stymied in their search to find each other by the nuns' refusal to give them information before Michael's death from AIDS.

About 7 years ago, Michael's partner (called Pete in the book) referred me to a journalist who was trying to pitch a book based on the story of Michael's birth mother's search for her son. Following Pete's lead, I agreed to speak to Martin Sixsmith about my friendship with Michael. He recorded our 2-hour conversation. Pete expected to hear from Sixsmith if the book proposal ever came to fruition.

When the book appeared without prior notice to Pete or me in 2009, I was appalled to find that Sixsmith had written a fictional version of Michael's life in which characters engage in conversations that never happened. Because the book received consistently bad reviews in the British newspapers, I decided not to write a review, hoping that the book would fade from view. That is exactly what happened until Steve Coogan read the 2009 newspaper article by Sixsmith and the rest is history.

I cringed when I read my "character" engaging in fictional dialogue with Michael. Things only went downhill from there. The dialogue that Sixsmith invented for the conversations Michael and I supposedly had were not quotes from the interview I gave, and I did not agree to my interview being turned into scenes with made-up dialogue. Michael is dead and cannot verify these conversations or, for that matter, any of the conversations he is purported to have had throughout the book.

Inaccuracies abound. I met Michael when he hired me to work for him in December of 1977. The book has me engaging in fictional conversations during 1975 and 1976 with Michael about his boyfriend Mark, and even having conversations with Mark about Michael's supposedly dark moods and behavior. I think the author created these events to support his premise that Michael was a troubled and tortured soul because he could not find his birth mother and because he was required to hide his sexuality at his place of work. This was the 1980s and there were very few gay men or woman who were "out" at work.

The fiction continues. I did not discuss politics with Michael during this time period and never talked about supporting Carter. Also, Sixsmith has Michael moving in with me to "recover" from too much partying. Not true. The many purported conversations in which I provide advice to Michael about his love life or work problems simply did not occur. Like most good friends, I did a lot of listening and nodding.

It is really difficult for those of us who knew Michael to see him portrayed so poorly. He was smart, charming, good looking and thoughtful. Michael always went out of his way to make his friends' birthdays special. For 10 years, he took my young daughter and me to many, many Christmas tree lots in search of the perfect tree.

Michael was a great boss and mentor who taught me so much about legal research and writing and encouraged me to take on difficult and challenging assignments. He was a terrific writer and speaker. These talents and a lot of hard work contributed to his successful career.

Pete and other friends have tried to correct Sixsmith's depiction of Michael as a tortured soul in recent articles that appeared in The New York Times and Politico. They stress his long-term relationship with Pete and his multifaceted interests, which ranged from following Notre Dame sports to predicting the best new Broadway musicals to his prodigious gardening.

Between the made-up dialogue and almost prurient focus on Michael's sexual behavior, the author has failed to present anything near a recognizable picture of Michael Hess. While I can only speak definitively to the information that I gave Sixsmith and my knowledge of Michael, the book contains other conversations that can't possibly be sourced because the people are dead. If you plan to read the book, be aware that you will be reading fiction and, not very well written fiction, at that.
94 von 97 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The Movie Is Only a Slice of the Whole Pie 31. Dezember 2013
Von C. E. Selby - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I really enjoyed the movie version with Judi Dench and Steven Coogan and was a little surprised when a one-star reviewer claimed how inferior the Martin Sixmith (played in the movie by Coogan) book is to the movie. I want to take issue with that assessment. The movie—which is wonderfully done—is only a slice of the whole. The movie is focused upon Philomena Lee with very little about the son she lost to an American family whereas the book is much more about the one, Anthony, who becomes Michael Hess.

The evilness of Archbishop McQuaid in Ireland is not part of the movie. So reading this book has given me a much broader view of what happened, of just how truly horrific this archbishop was and how terrible the Catholic Church was as an institution dealing with unwed mothers and their babies. The Irish government quite literally allowed for the selling of these babies and never allowing the mothers to have their own children. The church treated these young women as though they were Hester Prynne—marked for life as sinners.

The book is primarily about the two children who are adopted by Doc and Marge Hess who have three biological sons. Marge has a brother who becomes a bishop, a very kind man, a real counterbalance to the evil McQuaid. The reader is given a chronological look at the life of Michael within this family, within the American Catholic church, with a lot of dialogue which, of course, has to have been created by Sixsmith. We don’t really know too much about his sources. But I read the book the same way I would read a novel.

In the movie we know little about Michael’s motivation to see his biological mother whereas in the book a lot is made of his efforts. In fact as I read the book I thought this: there should be two movies: “Philomena” and a second titled “Michael.” We experience his struggles with his homosexuality in an era when coming out was often dangerous. We experience him as a high schooler who loved singing and performing in musicals. And as an excellent student at Notre Dame and then as a law student at George Washington University. And then his struggles as a closeted Republican during the Reagan years when he was so involved in Washington politics.
109 von 116 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Plodding...the film was better 6. Dezember 2013
Von Evangeline Kessler - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I saw the film on Thanksgiving evening and was captivated by the story so I rushed home and ordered the book. I've given it three stars only because it was interesting, but the film is better. The film tells the story from Philomena's viewpoint while the book tells the story from Anthony/Michael's side of things. There is very little of Philomena's story in the book and that was disappointing. The factual/historical details of the HIV/AIDS outbreak and the government's lack of timely reaction to such a medical crisis was informative, but I would save my money and just see the film instead for a heartwarming story with exceptional acting by Judy Dench.
67 von 74 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not Like The Movie--Read it anyway. 4. Dezember 2013
Von Annette Laing - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Don't expect the book to be like the movie. It isn't, not by a long shot, but it is just as terrific on its own merits.

While "Philomena" the movie is a tremendous dramatized and fictionalized account of the tragic story of Philomena Lee, who was coerced by nuns into giving up her toddler for adoption in America, the book focuses mostly on the life of her son, Anthony (renamed Michael by his adoptive parents.)

Sixsmith is a scholar and political journalist, and in his hands, the story of Michael Hess (as he was known most of his life) carries much more substance than might be expected from a human interest story of this kind. The question that hangs over the book is "Why would a gay man spend his life furthering the power of the Republican Party, which was (at the time) deeply homophobic and indifferent to the suffering of AIDS victims?"

Sixsmith shows us how the riddle of Michael Hess's life leads back to the rural convent in Ireland where he was born, and to the evil that frightened people commit. There is nothing like the satisfying showdown we see in the movie, but the book is nonetheless a detailed, sympathetic, and thought-provoking meditation on human failure.

A few reviewers have found the detail tough going, and I think your reaction to it may depend on your expectations going in, and what you normally like to read. For what it's worth, I didn't find it a hard read--Sixsmith writes very well, and is clearly trying to make this story engaging to the broadest possible audience.
33 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen wrong title 26. Dezember 2013
Von Jim Cassou - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
After seeing the movie i immediately purchased the book. This is one of the few days the movie is better than the book. I feel the book should have been titled Michael. Most of the book is about his life as an adult and dealing with his job and being gay.
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