Summer of My German Soldier (Summer of My German Soldier, #1)
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Summer of My German Soldier (Summer of My German Soldier #1)

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  10,556 ratings  ·  674 reviews
Minutes before the train pulled into the station in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, Patty Bergen knew something exciting was going to happen. But she never could have imagined that her summer would be so memorable. German prisoners of war have arrived to make their new home in the prison camp in Jenkinsville. To the rest of her town, these prisoners are only Nazis. But to Patty, a...more
Mass Market Paperback, 203 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Dell Publishing (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

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booklady
Jul 05, 2008 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone from age fifteen up
I wonder if I can ever do this story justice. It's about a young Jewish girl during WWII who befriends a German POW held in a camp near her small Arkansas town. That's the plot, but really it's about so much more: about learning to like and love yourself even when significant others don't; about salvific power of love and kindness; about true agape love.

Some might be tempted to reduce Summer to a modern day Romeo and Juliette story minus the romance, violence and suicides. It is about doomed lo...more
Clare Cannon
Apr 21, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 12 years - adults

This book is still a beautiful ache in my heart long after I finished it. I don't know why it never came up in lists of recommended modern classics. It is not a feel good romance, but a beautiful story of courage, friendship and love, and of a young girl learning to filter out the unkindness and prejudice directed towards her to discover the truth and goodness of love.

Adolescents who are used to a diet of feel-good will need to be prepared for some heart stretching, but in the long-run, and wit...more
Adam
Oct 20, 2007 Adam rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: my worst enemy
OK, I lied. THIS is the worst book I've ever been FORCED to read. Note to teachers, if you make your students read this, THEN YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! Have you ever wondered why kids don't like reading? It's because of books like these. And, if you continue to say that this book ties in with whatever WWII lesson your teaching, then I truly feel sorry. Not for the teachers, but for the students. Plain and simple, this book sucks. To the teachers who make their kids read this, I advise you to...more
Hello Goodbye
Nov 15, 2007 Hello Goodbye rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IF U HAVE ANY SENSE IN YOU DONT READ THIS BOOK

now that thats over I tell you the truth......the screaming is what you are going to be doing on every single page of this book

there are so many things I would rather do than this, like get punched by everyone in my school or watch teletubies and dora for 1 week striat (never doing anything else)

seriously if you see thsi book burn it and dance around the fire laughing like a maniac
Tracey, librarian on strike
We never read Summer of My German Soldier in class (honestly, what did we read?), nor have I seen the movie, so this Open Road edition from Netgalley was brand new to me. I hadn't realized the main character and narrator of the story, Patty, was so young (12); my first assumption was that she was old enough for this to be a more common sort of love story.

It's not what I was anticipating, but despite her youth, it is a love story, of a sort, or of several sorts. It involves Patty's love for her s...more
Will.i.am Schwartz
Jan 08, 2008 Will.i.am Schwartz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This was one of the best books that I read. It had a lot of things going on in it. Patty is the main character in this story. She has a normal life, however, it becomes much more interesting as it goes. The setting of this story takes place during WWII. It's about the POW's (Prisoner's of War) and how one of them escaped. His name was Frederick Anton Riecker. Patty see's him at the local drug store that her family owns. He buys some items from her but there was something that felt special to Pa...more
Madeline
Another book I was forced to read for school and consequently now despise to the depths of my soul. But really, it's crap on its own. A twelve year old girl, complete with an abusive father and lacking the three c's of an interesting protagonist (Confidence, Common sense, and Character), gets the brilliant idea of hiding an escaped German POW in her garage. And for an added dramatic twist, SHE'S JEWISH! How's THAT for exciting conflict?
Yeah, not so much. Simply put, this book made me want to vo...more
Annette
Apr 04, 2008 Annette rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Shelves: ya
When I heard that this book was about a romance between a 12 yr. old and a 22 yr. old I didn't think that I would like it, but it's not a mushy-gushy romance, its more of a friendship really.

My favorite character was Ruth. "Honey Babe",in my opinion this book would have been a complete wash if it hadn't been for Ruth.
I liked this book because it made me think. After I read it I was wishing that I had a group of people to discuss it with. If I were to lead a group discussion about this book, th...more
Greg
I remember nothing of this book, all I remember is the name stuck in my head and the fact that I hated this book more than almost any other book I was ever forced to read in an English class in middle or high school.
Josiah
"A person's got to think, otherwise that person's no better than a trained seal balancing a ball on his nose. If only that seal could think, he'd know he was making a thousand children laugh."

—Patty Bergen, "Summer of My German Soldier", P. 160

"Like the Bible tells us, when a man will lay down his life for a friend, well, then there ain't no greater love in this here world than that."

—Ruth, "Summer of My German Soldier", P. 130

I have heard quite a bit about this book before I began to read...more
Dominic
I find I've been reading a lot of YA novels about males, so my wife suggested I read this one, a favorite from her adolescence.

Turns out Patty Bergen is a fantastic young adult narrator, a girl who just may have the most wretched parents I've ever read about.

Summer of My German Soldier is a unique sort of book, and it is beautifully written. It is a story about the Holocaust, but it's set in Arkansas. It was a new perspective on this horrible part of our human history. Patty Bergen is a Jewish A...more
Julianna
Aug 25, 2010 Julianna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical YA Fiction
Reviewed for THC Reviews
Summer of My German Soldier is a poignant coming-of-age story about a young Jewish girl from a small town in Arkansas who helps an escaped German POW, an act which changes her life forever. This short young adult novel is packed with philosophical lessons on human nature that make it very difficult for me to describe, but suffice it to say that it is an amazing little book. I almost wish it had been longer, to give me more time to ponder its depths, but at the same time,...more
H.orses
Oh this book was awesome! It is an amazing love story between a Jewish girl and an escaped German Soldier, it shows what they both with risk and how life during the war was for families. The main character Patty, lives with a dysfunctional family and an abusive father. Wanted by the police Anton will risk his cover and Patty with house the enemy. And in the end it all comes down to one memory that could make or break them both. With a surprising twisting end I loved this book and I wanted to kee...more
Chanel Judkins
I hated this book. It was depressing and awful. Also you couldn't even root for the love story because she was 12 and he was in his twenties. I would not recommend this book.
Sara
Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Greene tells the story of a Patti, a tortured and abused Jewish girl during World War II who houses and falls for a Nazi Soldier who escaped from a POW camp in their small southern town. The story begins with a letter from the author telling the reader that after keeping things quiet for years to save her family she now admits that the story is based off her life. Patti is a girl who just doesn't fit in, she's the only Jewish girl in a small town living with...more
Lefulche
Oh my goodness, this was possibly my favorite book in middle school! My mother gave me HER copy that she read as a teenager, so it was very special to me. I know I read it at least three times.

I am currently a freshman in college and have read many love stories since Summer of My German Soldier, but this book still stands out in my memory. The power of the forbidden love, the danger of a German soldier in the WWII American homefront climate, the intensity of the moral choice Patty has to make in...more
Julie
Just read this in a few hours this week. I did not care for it, and I wonder why it is so frequently taught in middle schools. The main character is engaging, but all the other characters except for Anton are just a bundle of stereotypes. Her parents are abusive monsters with no redeeming features, quite one-dimensional; her nanny is perfect in every way, really the Mammy stereotype, I felt. And then there's the ickiness factor: the main character is 12 and the German soldier is 20. Most of what...more
Shannon
I read Summer of My German Soldier as an 8th grader and just read it again this month with a group of my 8th graders. When I first read Greene's work, I remember feeling like I was crossing a threshold of sorts ... moving into adulthood. It was one of the first books I read with such adult themes, and I remember feeling for the characters and experiencing horror and anger and sorrow and thinking I'd be forever changed by the experience.

War. How do we allow war to mark us and change us? Abuse. R...more
Ashley
I wonder if Bette Greene knew, when Summer was published in 1973, that it would still be relevant in 2010? Summer of My German Soldier tells the story of Patty Bergen, a young Jewish girl growing up in rural Arkansas in World War II. Often the subject of her mother's criticism and her father's violent temper, Patty's only real friend is Ruth, the family's housekeeper. That all changes the summer Patty is twelve, and German POW's are relocated to Patty's hometown.

Patty befriends on soldier, Anto...more
Shauna
This is the first time I have read this book. It's hard to know what I would have thought when I was younger. As it is I was surprised by it, and loved it.

The story isn't quite what I expected. The writing itself is so good I couldn't put it down. First person is done very well. A lot of information is understood in the beginning without being spelled out for you. A nicely pulled off skill.

To really be able to appreciate this book someone would need to be old enough to know back history about...more
Christina Rumbaugh
When I first read this book, I thought it was amazing. I loved it. I was sucked into it. I wanted to be the girl, and I wanted my own German soldier (sort of). When I read it, I think I was the same age as the girl, so I had the same little tween fantasies, haha. In case you haven't read it, it's about a 12- or 13-year-old Jewish girl who meets a German soldier (during WWII, mind you) in her little down (in Alabama?) where there is a big POW camp/prison. Her father owns a general store, and occa...more
Stephen
I've often thought that my inner child must be a 13 year old fat girl so while this book seems an odd choice for a 50 something gay man it's actually understandable that I liked it as much as I did. It's also understandable that many other reviewers didn't.

The main character is Patty, a twelve year old jewish girl who's somewhat plain and very headstrong. She lives in WWII era Arkansas with her deeply flawed parents, her beautiful baby sister and the family's maid/nanny. An old black woman name...more
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
This review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies

I first read Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene when I was an awkward 12 year old in middle school. This book was required reading for our year and whilst a lot of other students groaned over required reading, I was always a bit enthusiastic about it. I found it interesting to read a book I wouldn't normally choose for myself.

And I remember absolutely adoring Summer of My German Soldier. I thought it was heart-breaking the wa...more
Alyssa
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene takes place during the middle to the end of World War II in Jenkinsville, Arkansas. It is about a 12 year old Jewish girl, by the name of Patty Bergen, who falls in love with a Nazi POW by the name of Anton. Patty is willing to do whatever it takes in order for her friend to stay alive. Anton is the only one who understands and appreciates her in a way that her parents never will, and she is willing to risk everything so he can stay in her life. This b...more
Abra
This was one of my favorite books in middle school, and I've re-read it several times since then. It speaks to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast. Patty Bergen's utter feeling of alienation from almost every single human in her general vicinity sounded a chord in me at that age, for sure. The alienation arises from many different circumstances, among which are her status as a Southern Jewish girl during WWII, and her love of words and reading. The only people she could feel close to at all...more
Beth Bonini
I had thought that I might include this book in a unit I'm doing on war novels (for 12/13 year old girls), but I'm certainly glad that I read it first . . . because NO. What an extremely peculiar novel is the main thought that comes to mind. I found the writing to be rather jerky and disjointed, and certainly not convincing enough to pull together all of the disparate threads. Poor Patty Bergen. As if it wouldn't have been bad enough to be Jewish, gawky and friendless in 1940s small town Arkansa...more
Katie Herring
Sweet Jesus I was not expecting this bittersweet ache.

After I finished reading I did nothing. And by nothing, I mean I wasted a good ten or so minutes of my life scrolling it away on Tumblr. But, I did see a post that really pertains to how I feel right now after finishing this book. "do you ever just finish a book and sit there for a while like what the fuck did this author just do to me" -galaxysdefender

Yes indeed that is exactly how I feel. What just happened? What are all these feelings tha...more
Violet
Summer of My German Soldier took some very surprising twists as the pages fluttered through my fingers. It did not take very long to read for a good reason: this is a really good book.

It is the story of an American Jewish girl who befriends a German POW. She has very few people to love in her life; her father mistreats her, and her mother is self-centered and doesn't really care about her. The only one she has is Ruth, their colored hired girl, who is the only one who really loves her. But when...more
Amon
I found the main character somewhat interesting, her first person narration was pretty well written, I loved Ruth- the maid, she was my favorite character and I think the best developed. The relationship between Patty and Anton seemed a little too much like a 7th grade girls fantasy than something that actually would happen- Anton very poorly developed in my opinion- his motivations, actions, words- not very realistic. The parents did not make any sense, it seems that they should need some reaso...more
Ilka
Ughhhh...I did not like this book at all. I couldn't stand the protagonist. She was so annoying especially when she created her own messes due to her pathological lying. The book should not be called the Summer of my german soldier. The guy was only with her for a few days, a week tops, that is not a summer!!! The book was very difficult to get into. I hated the ending. It was so abstract. I wasn't exactly sure if the protagonist was going to be okay. She was such a liar through out the whole bo...more
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Beyond Mr. Darcy:...: August Group Read 4 10 Sep 13, 2012 06:52AM  
Anton was barely in the book 3 19 Sep 07, 2012 04:48PM  
Patty 4 33 Oct 18, 2011 12:36PM  
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Bette Greene’s award-winning classic novels will be celebrating 40 years in print!

As an award-winning author, screenwriter and news reporter, Bette Greene is read worldwide in over 16 languages. Bette continues her legacy of writing and speaking for the victimized. Within the heartbeat of her storytelling and the realism of her prose lies Bette’s demand that her readers feel what she feels and see...more
More about Bette Greene...
Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe. (Beth Lambert, #1) Morning Is a Long Time Coming (Summer of My German Soldier, #2) The Drowning of Stephan Jones Get on Out of Here, Philip Hall (Beth Lambert, #2) Them That Glitter and Them That Don't

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“Even if you forget everything else I want you to always remember that you are a person of value, and you have a friend who loved you enough to give you his most valued possession.” 29 likes
“Like the Bible tells us, when a man will lay down his life for a friend, well, then there ain't no greater love in this here world than that.” 17 likes
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