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Philomena : a mother, her son, and a fifty-year search / Martin Sixsmith ; foreword by Dame Judi Dench.

By: Sixsmith, Martin.
Contributor(s): Dench, Judi, 1934- [author of introduction, etc.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, New York : Penguin Books, 2013Copyright date: ©2009Description: vi, 420 pages, 16 unnumberd pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 22 cm.Content type: text | still image Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780143124726 (paperback).Uniform titles: Philomena (Motion picture : 2013) Subject(s): Hess, Michael A., 1952-1995 | Lee, Philomena | Teenage mothers -- Ireland -- Biography | Unmarried mothers -- Ireland -- Biography | Illegitimate children -- Ireland -- Biography | Intercountry adoption | Adoption -- Corrupt practices | Lawyers -- United States -- Biography | Politicians -- United States -- BiographyGenre/Form: Biographies.DDC classification: 941.7082092 | B Summary: When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a "fallen woman." Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena’s son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother. A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation.
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Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due
Biographies Gonville Library
Biographies
Biographies B LEE Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

New York Times Bestseller

Now a major motion picture starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and nominated for four Academy Awards: the heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for 50 years

When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a "fallen woman." Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena's son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother.

A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation.

Film tie-in.

"First published in Great Britain as 'The Lost Child of Philomena Lee' by Macmillan Publishers Limited 2009" --Title page verso.

When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a "fallen woman." Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena’s son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother. A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Originally published in 2009, this is the true story of Irishwoman Philomena Lee and the child she gave up for adoption. Unlike the Oscar-nominated film of the same name, which focuses on the unwed mother's search 50 years later for her son, the book is concerned with the child's adult life and his struggles with his sexuality. Michael Anthony Hess, the toddler adopted by an American couple in 1955, grew up to become a gay Republican lawyer who died of AIDS at the age of 43. English actor John Curless provides a clear and well-paced narration, with a foreword by Dame Judi Dench (who stars in the film). verdict Of interest to fans of mother-child tales or family drama. ["Sixsmith's narrative, while emotionally compelling, lacks context and verges at times on the sensationalistic, with invented dialog and narration," read the review of the Penguin hc, LJ 9/1/13.]-Denise A. Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib., Newburgh, NY (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In 1952, Philomena Lee, a young unwed Irish Catholic woman, was sent away to an abbey in County Tipperary to await the birth of her illegitimate child. Journalist Sixsmith (Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East) chillingly recounts the subsequent events. After surviving a harrowing breech birth attended to only by an inexperienced nun, Philomena learned she had to work in the abbey for three years to pay off the cost of her care. She rose at 6 a.m. each day to feed her son, Anthony, before attending Mass and spending the next several hours sweating in the abbey's laundry room. But the worst was yet to come. At the end of Philomena's service, Anthony was taken from her to be placed with "any person" the abbey's Superioress deemed "fit and proper"-a practice condoned by the Catholic Church and facilitated by the Irish government. An American couple adopted Anthony, took him to the States, and changed his name to Michael Hess. This part of the book is riveting, but the 50-year search promised in the subtitle takes a backseat to Michael's suburban upbringing and his experiences as a gay man; Philomena all but disappears. The much-anticipated ending of this mother-and-son saga is hurried, incomplete, and unsatisfying. 36 b&w photos. Agent: Peter Straus, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

A British journalist's novelistic biography about an unwed Irish mother and the son she was forced to give up for adoption. In the sexually repressive Ireland of the 1950s, single motherhood was a mark of shame not only for girls and women, but also for their families. So when 18-year-old Philomena Lee became pregnant in late 1952, her father sent her to a convent for fallen women. Philomena worked as a virtual slave for the nuns who ran it in exchange for room and board. She gave birth to and cared for an infant son she called Anthony, a son who would be forcibly turned over to a Catholic couple willing to offer a "donation" for the privilege of adopting. Against Philomena's wishes, an American doctor and his wife adopted her son, along with a female playmate he adored. The couple renamed the boy Michael and took him and his "sister" Mary to live in the United States. Michael grew up a model child, but Sixsmith's (Russia: A 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East, 2011, etc.) psychologically probing portrait of Philomena's son reveals how he also suffered from a "secret certainty of his own worthlessness," which stemmed from the pain of maternal abandonment and a growing awareness of his own homosexuality. Michael became a successful Washington, D.C., lawyer whose expertise in gerrymandering issues garnered him the attention of Republican Party elites. Yet due to the fact that Michael could not accept himself, he indulged in darker compulsions--risky sex, alcohol and drugs--that destroyed his relationships and eventually caused him to contract AIDS. His personal tragedy was compounded by the fact that he and his mother searched for each other without success. Since the secretive Catholic Church could not reveal the sordid truth behind the adoption to either Philomena or Michael, the pair "reunited" only after Sixsmith's chance intervention--and only after it was too late. Judi Dench, who provides the foreword, will star in the upcoming film adaptation. A searingly poignant account of forced adoption and its consequences.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.