An engrossing portrait of a woman among men in wartime.

THE FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES

WHAT'S A WOMAN DOING HERE, ANYWAY?

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.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0984779918

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Calliope

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2012

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

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CIRCE

A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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