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

By Margaret Manning January 03, 2014 Mindset

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.

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:

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.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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