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Book Club: “Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search”, by Martin Sixsmith

Margaret Manning

Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search, by Martin Sixsmith, is a true story about what happens when a young unmarried Irish girl gets pregnant in the 1950s.

Philomena is sent to a Catholic nunnery in Tipperary to have her baby and, since she is unable to pay money for her release, has to work in the kitchens and gardens for 3 years with her son. Eventually she is forced to give up her child, who is sold for adoption to an American family. He disappears from her life. Philomena then spends 50 years looking for him, unaware that he is looking for her as well.

I chose this book for our Book Club because it has the potential to be both thought provoking and stimulating. I have also heard good things about the upcoming film, starring Dame Judy Dench. Her performance is apparently outstanding and she captures the complexity and power of a mother’s love for her son.

Judy Dench’s own comments regarding the book also intrigued me. She says, “This is 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.”

You can get the book on Amazon or for free if you sign up with

Please join us in reading this fascinating story! I am sure it will generate some great insights and I look forward to participating in the discussion.

To kick things off, here are a few questions. Please add your thoughts in the comments:

1 FREE Audiobook Credit RISK-FREE from

How do you feel about the details of Philomena’s story?

How do you interpret her situation and the challenges that she faced?

Do you agree that the bond between a mother and her child is one of the most powerful forces in a woman’s life? If so, why?

How do you think that you would you have dealt with her situation?

How do you understand the importance of having roots and understanding your heritage?

I hope that you enjoy this book! Please share your thoughts below and consider signing for our free Sixty and Me Membership program to get weekly updates from Sixty and Me.

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  1. …. saw the movie… just wonderful!!… <3

  2. Just started reading it,went to see the film it was great growing up as a catholic and going to a all girls catholic school l always said the nuns were evil

  3. looking forward to this movie.

  4. Am going to see this film tomorrow so will be interested to follow comments.

  5. Have not seen my mother for 50 years but then..

  6. Loved the movie..I laughed. & cried..

  7. I have seen the movie and I really enjoyed it .

  8. Have seen the film………….brilliant.

  9. Love your choice as I have just been to see the movie and my thoughts were that the characterisation of Philomena in the novel will be in even greater detail , although I have to say Judy Dench does such an amazing portrayal you feel she is a close relative. Once the book is read everyone should treat themselves to the film. Does anyone know if this book is available through Kindle?

  10. (Y)

  11. Just went to put a hold on this at our local library. I am number 27 in line! As it is my personal policy to stop buying books, dont think I will have this read in time!