Thursday, April 21, 2011

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

This is a classic that I had never read. Both Gwen and Susan had recently mentioned it to me, so I took that as a sign to pick it up. It is one of those modern classics that I had not read (like The Witch of Blackbird Pond that I did not read until I was in my 20s; I've told Susan to read it).
I have now passed this book on to my Dad. He recently told me that there was a German POW camp near his hometown of Buhl, ID. Of course, he didn't know about it at the time (since he was born in 1942!). You can read about Camp Rupert at
This is the story of 12-year-old Patty Bergen, a Jewess in small-town Arkansas and her encounter with Anton, a German POW in the camp near her town.
This book is well-written. There are so many inferences to be made; I think it would be great for a 7-9th grade student.
I cried in several places when I felt that Patty was misunderstood by her family. The writing in those places is bare and painful. I would just be in tears thinking of things I wanted to say to her daddy.
If you read this or have read it in the past, please discuss the comparison of Patty's father to Hitler. Patty and Anton have a brief discussion about this. I also think that the discussion of how Hitler came to power can be compared to how it became acceptable for Patty's father to abuse her (gradual acceptance).

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