Philomena by Martin Sixsmith
After hearing so much hype surrounding the film Philomena, I knew I had to get my hands on the book! I didn't want to see the film before reading the book, as it's never the same, so when I was given this at Christmas I dove straight in!
Philomena tells the story of Philomena Lee who, in Ireland in the 1950s, was forced to give up her 'illegitimate' baby for adoption. But that wasn't before spending three years bonding with her son Anthony in a Catholic convent, repenting for her sins and awaiting the day she knew the nuns would sell off her son to an American family. If that isn't harrowing enough (!) the story then continues to guide us through Anthony's (now named Michael Hess) troubled life adapting to a new family he feels don't love him, losing those around him who he loves and struggling coming to terms with his sexuality. All this time, Michael is trying to contact his mother, but with very little luck - in part, down to the nuns who know what they did was wrong and as a result are unwilling to cooperate.
Philomena is incredibly sad in places, but tells a (true) story about life - all the twists, turns and everything in between. It might be particularly of interest to those who are interested in gay rights, as this focuses a lot on the struggle in America in the 1970s/80s/90s.
Now I've finished the book, I can't wait to watch the film! Its out in the UK on DVD at the end of March.