A close look at the lives of four Army wives at Fort Bragg that depicts the challenges and stresses of being married to the military.
Biank, a former reporter for the Fayetteville Observer who grew up as an Army brat and is now an Army wife, knows the military life and Fort Bragg well. Her interest in the lives of Army wives was piqued in the summer of 2002 by a series of murders there that she covered for the newspaper. Here, Biank focuses on four women, Andrea Lynne Cory, the wife of a lieutenant colonel, and Delores Kalinofski, Rita Odom and Andrea Floyd, all married to enlisted men. She traces the major and minor events of their lives from Christmas 2000 through the summer of 2002. In that short time, the husband of one is killed, the son of another commits suicide and a third is murdered by her husband. Their personalities and their backgrounds differ greatly, but all are shaped by the expectations and restrictions of the military. It is a world where wives carry the rank of their husbands, where class distinctions determine whom they associate with and where and how they live, and it is a world where poverty is common among the lower ranks. For much of the time that Biank is following these women, Fort Bragg is on high alert, with men awaiting deployment. Stress levels exacerbate marital problems, but for either a man or his wife to seek counseling is seen as a sign of weakness and bad for a man’s record.
Despite its excess of minutiae, Biank has created a vivid picture of life today as a military spouse that may give any prospective bride second thoughts.