“A freelance writer struggles to find her place among hard-nosed newsmen covering the Vietnam War in this depiction of wartime journalists. In her debut, former Associated Press editor Tuohy describes the Vietnam War through a journalist’s lens.
Freelance writer Angela Martinelli arrives in Saigon in 1968, wearing her “greenness” in the form of high-heeled shoes and a gorgeous mane of red hair. As one of the few women correspondents in a war zone, Angela is greeted with misogyny, skepticism or disdain by her male colleagues, except for Nick, who works for a Chicago newspaper and gives her the benefit of the doubt. She soon proves her merit and bravery in the middle of a covert operation in Cambodia, surviving capture by the Viet Cong, living in a bunker during a siege and chasing truths that the military denies and her fellow reporters doubt.
Angela also finds romance in the midst of this chaos; eventually she must choose: her career or love. Angela’s determination is commendable as she forges ahead in spite of incredible dangers and an unconscionable lack of professional support. She’s a model for young women seeking equality in male-dominated professions.
Some portions of the book are slow, but they accurately reflect the downtime journalists endure between scoops—hanging out at bars, drinking Scotch, swapping gossip and waiting for the next gig.
The story picks up steam when Tuohy describes pivotal moments of the war: the Tet offensive, the siege of Khe Sanh, soldiers on the line and the horrific injuries they sustained, even the psychological torment of walking endlessly through the jungle.
The action is riveting and the writing is clear, detailed and highly readable. An engrossing portrait of a woman among men in wartime.”
WINNER Gold: Fiction, War & Military 2013 Global Ebook Awards
Read More: The 2013 Global Ebook Awards
“I had a hard time believing this was a fictional book, as the writing and detail were so great. With the Vietnam War being such a controversial war, this book handled it, warts and all. It never came across as political, although there were some definite political slants. It is the story of the soldiers, the people, and the journalists, as they fought to cover a thankless war. Totally engrossing, occasionally grandiose, but immensely entertaining.”
Literary R&R Full Review
Books in Brief – The VVA Veteran – Vietnam Veterans of America
“I was in Saigon during much of that period, and spent some time on Tu Do Street and in and out of the Caravelle and Continental Hotels where many of the scenes of this novel take place. The author nails this milieu precisely. Nice job. It’s almost as though Theasa Tuohy had been there at the time.”
Books in Brief – The VVA Veteran – Full Review
Historical Novel Society
“A thoroughly engrossing story. There is no retro-history, no political agenda here . . .
There are wonderful characters, love and death, wartime friendships and loss.”
Historical Novel Society Full Review
Genre Go Round Reviews (Harriet Klausner’s blog)
“a powerful military historical thriller that focuses on journalist covering the Vietnam War especially a fiesty courageous woman crashing through the glass ceiling.”
Genre Go Round Reviews Full Review
Straight from Hel (Helen Ginger’s blog)
“The FIVE O’CLOCK FOLLIES is based on reality but it is fiction with legs. It’ll keep you running from one page to the next.”
Straight from Hel Full Review
The Midwest Book Review
“Women emerged to more prominent roles in society in recent years, but the struggle was long. ‘The Five O’Clock Follies: What’s a Woman Doing Here Anyway?’ is a novel about a woman war correspondent in Saigon during the violent and controversial Vietnam War. Author Theasa Tuohy draws on her own journalistic experience to tell the story of women daring to make their way through a male dominated world. ‘The Five O’Clock Follies’ is a riveting and insightful look at a tumultuous time for America and women’s rights.”
Midwest Book Review
“Tuohy’s book smacks the reader with powerful descriptions of heat and fire, blood and guts, subterfuge and camouflage in what was probably the least loved conflict in America’s history. ”
The Oklahoman Full Review
International Policy Digest
“the amazing thing about this book is that it feels so real – more like creative nonfiction or a memoir – and yet it is nonfiction”
International Policy Digest Full Review
Oklahoma Gazette – Finalist in 2013 Oklahoma Book Awards
“As a reporter, I was not going to have a wrong street name,” Tuohy said. “Any writer will talk about the telling detail that can bring everything to life, so I went to Vietnam.”
To ensure the novel’s historical accuracy, Tuohy did extensive research, including traveling to Vietnam. She stayed in the same hotel room her character does — at the same hotel where legendary British author Graham Greene is said to have written The Quiet American.
Oklahoma Gazette Full Review
Tuohy, Theasa THE FIVE O’CLOCK FOLLIES: What’s a Woman Doing Here, Anyway? Calliope (405 pp.) $16.95 Paperback October 15, 2012 ISBN: 978-0984779918