Summer of My German Soldier (Puffin Modern Classics)

Summer of My German Soldier (Puffin Modern Classics)

by Bette Greene


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, October 22


An emotional, thought-provoking book from multi-award-winning author Bette Greene.

The summer that Patty Bergen turns twelve is a summer that will haunt her forever. When her small hometown in Arkansas becomes the site of a camp housing German prisoners during World War II, Patty learns what it means to open her heart. Even though she's Jewish, she begins to see a prison escapee, Anton, not as a Nazi, but as a lonely, frightened young man with feelings not unlike her own.

In Anton, Patty finds someone who softens the pain of her own father's rejection and who appreciates her in a way her mother never will. While patriotic feelings run high, Patty risks losing family, friends — even her freedom — for this dangerous friendship. It is a risk she has to take and one she will have to pay a price to keep.

"An exceptionally fine novel." —The New York Times

"Courageous and compelling!"  —Publishers Weekly

A National Book Award Finalist
An ALA Notable Book
New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142406519
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/20/2006
Series: Puffin Modern Classics Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 511,676
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.63(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

Like Beth Lambert, Bette Greene grew up in a small town in Arkansas. Her first novel, Summer of My German Soldier, won unanimous critical acclaim and became an immediate best-seller. Bette Greene lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Summer of My German Soldier 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 261 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school and at first I said to myself " Oh great. Another one of those boring books about soldiers for school" but after reading this book I had a whole other perspective of life. This book reminds us that no matter what we are or who we are we need to follow our heart and walk in the Lord's footsteps. This book also teaches us about the holocaust in a non-boring way but in a interesting way. Bette Greene writes this book so beautifully and makes me feel like I am standing next to Patty ( the main character) She makes the story so Life-like using objects such as Lysol Spray to Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum. Overall this book was definately amazing. I plan on reading the next book soon! I would definately recommend this book for all ages!! One of the best books I ever read. Hope this review helps! Now what are you waiting for? GO BUY THIS AWESOME BOOK!!! :)
rubydiamond More than 1 year ago
This book tells you about a girl who befriends a german soldier.(who are despised for their role in the holocaust).It sort of teaches the lesson to not judge someone before getting to know them. Only reason i didn't give it a five star rating was because i didn't like the ending.
HelixAdult More than 1 year ago
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene is a suspenseful, unusual, and inspiring novel. It depicts the story of a smart and intellectual 12 year old Jewish girl named Patty Bergen and her transition from a girl into a woman after helping a noble German prisoner of war during WWII.
Patty Bergen is a young girl who is affected by her parent¿s lack of love and rejection. Her parents are inconsiderate and hateful. Thankfully, Patty has someone in her life, the family¿s black housekeeper Ruth, who loves her unconditionally and is greatly appreciated by Patty because she seems to be the only person that understands her. Patty is also very intrigued by the war and current events. At the time German prisoners of war are brought to her small town Jenkensville, Arkansas. This creates animosity and fear among the people of the town.
Patty meets a German soldier named Anton and becomes smitten by him. Patty runs into problems when Anton escapes from prison camp, and she immediately helps him from being captured by helping him hide in a secret room their garage. This creates problems for Patty because a Jewish girl helping a German prisoner of war is not a thing anyone could imagine in her time. She defies her parents, peers, and religion. Patty looks beyond the obvious and helps Anton because she believes he¿s a good man regardless his German background.
I admire Patty because she endures many things a 12 year could never do. She acts with an intellectual mind and knows right from wrong depending on facts. She does not base her decision to help Anton on his race. Patty seems far more intelligent and less ignorant than her parents. She is strong and has her ideals set straight which is something I look up to. Patty did not inherit her parent¿s prejudice minds and cold hearts.
Summer of My German Soldier is very inspirational and makes us realize that we can¿t classify people based on their race, ethnic background, or religion. It motivates me to help anyone that is ever in need regardless of their appearance because they might have a valuable lesson to teach me in return.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and it was amazing I even cried at some parts and I'm not a crier I highly recomend it is incredibly sad so if you get your heart ripped out over sad books DO NOT read this
Starryblue More than 1 year ago
I thought Patty was such a brave character. Bette Greene made me love Anton and Patty. Patty was so witty and I liked that about her. I thought she was extremely strong since she beared through her parents mistreatment. Ruth always managed to make me laugh. I must say this was my first time reading a story about a german soldier. All the events in the story definitely connected to history. At last I plan to read the sequel to The Summer of My German Soldier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was so well written and descriptive. SPOILER ALERT: I cried when Anton died. It was a sad part, but a great part as well. I highly reccomend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked this, I just know you'll like "phillip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe" It's awesome! All the books by this author are!
theliteraryworm More than 1 year ago
The nineteen people who gave this book one star have obviously never been taught to read literature critically and analytically. This is a wonderful story, full of life like characters that are just as deep and shallow as the people who surround us in real life, and features an ending that will make readers question what it means to be human in the truest sense of the word.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in school with my class and teacher, my teacher did the greatest impressions and the book was really good!
bnhays on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story of Patty Bergen who at 12 years old watches as German POW's are taken off a train to a prison camp. Anton, an escaped prisoner comes across her path and she hides him in her garage determined to keep him safe. Being a Jewish girl housing a Nazi prisoner she risks everything to keep him a secret.I love this books message of how easily one could look past bias if they wanted to.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just thought I was releasing this book at Project Graduation. Instead, the book somehow ended up coming home with me. I read it today. What a powerful story. A young girl, criticized and cruelly treated by her parents, meets a German POW, captured and held captive in a POW camp in Arkansas during WWII. The POW escapes and the girl finds a way to bring him food and water and a safe place to stay. The characters felt intensely real to me and I felt deep compassion for the girl. This would be a great book for discussion.
aimless22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this as a kid and did not remember the whole story, so decided to read it again as an adult. The lead character, Patty Bergen, at twelve years old is younger than I recalled. But her memorable summer with Anton, the German POW escapee, is as important to her as the air she breathes. Her love for those who respect her is immeasurable. I just learned that Ms. Greene wrote a sequel to this award-winning novel called Morning is a Long Time Coming. Don't remember reading that either. I will seek it out and read it to see where life takes Patty.
TheOnlyMe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was about 9 or 10 during a camping trip and I absolutely loved it. It has a bit of a romantic edge to it but nothing not suitable for children. It's historical fiction and definitely a great read for anyone interested in the stateside history of WWII. I also read the sequel on a subsequent camping trip but the title eludes me. It wasn't as good as this novel but a worthy read.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A powerfully disturbing book set in a small, bigoted Arkansas town. Young twelve year old Patty is emotionally abused by both parents and physically abused by her father.Set apart from others because her family is Jewish, and because she severely lacks stability and warmth, Patty struggles to belong and to fit in. A kind hearted, intelligent person, her only friend is Ruth, the family maid who loves her unquestionably.When the US government houses German prisoners in her town, Patti aids a young man who escapes, and in doing so she pays a tremendously high price.I liked the writing; I liked the plot. I didn't like the dramatic images the author tended to freely disperse throughout.Still, I recommend this book. It is well worth the time spent reading. The relationship between Ruth and Patty is beautiful and compelling.The ending was abrupt and thus I'm glad to know there is a follow up book to this one.
CatieN on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Patty is a 12-year-old Jewish girl living in Arkansas during World War II. Her parents own Bergen's department store in town. The summer in question, the U.S. opens a POW camp just outside of town, and through a series of events, Patty comes in close contact with one of the POWs from the camp, which does not have a good outcome. Patty's relationship with her parents is very disturbing. Overall, a good book, but I was left somewhat unsatisfied by the ending.
Stewartry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 sister, against all odds: it would have been less surprising to me if she had loathed Sharon for being the apple of their parents' eyes by simply existing. (What were the first five years of Patty's life, pre-Sharon, like, I wonder?) Patty's love for - or desire to love - her parents, against even greater odds. The housekeeper/nanny Ruth's genuine affection for Patty, and her staunch position on Patty's side no matter what. Anton Reiker, the German Soldier, is part of that facet; his point of view is not only as a grateful recipient of her help but as someone who sees what the rest of her life is doing to her. His and Ruth's interaction with Patty reminded me of Aibilene from The Help, constantly telling the browbeaten little girl "You is kind, you is smart, you is good..." - trying desperately to counteract the inevitable result of the horrible combination of intentional and unintentional abuse by the parents. Trying to provide a life raft in a sea of self-hatred.There is, to be honest, a lot not to like about Patty, at first glance - which is what makes her a compelling character. She - a Jewish girl - decides to aid an escaped German POW purely based on the fact that he was friendly to her, was attractive, and spoke excellent English, and that she was instantly infatuated with him (without really knowing how to express that, even to herself); for all she knew, actually knew, he could have been the deepest-dyed Nazi there ever was. A sheltered and affection-starved twelve-year old isn't exactly the judge of character I'd want to rely on in this situation. In fact, from the little bit I know about Nazi espionage techniques, Reiker is the sort of man most prized by the SS: able to speak unaccented English, plausible and friendly-seeming... My hair stood on end a bit thinking about it. She could have caused unspeakable damage with one thoughtless act.Also, of course, her constant lies are off-putting, and a little alarming, but in the context of her pitiable desperation to do something, anything to finally reach her parents' hearts they make sense. It seems to be an almost instinctual response to almost any situation ¿ one which, hopefully, she can outgrow.The introduction - exclusive to the Open Road edition, I think - talks about Bette Greene's parents' reaction to the book. "Couldn't you at least have waited till we were dead?" She apparently either evaded the question or denied outright that she and Patty were one and the same; however, her parents evidently recognized enough of themselves in the narrative to be defensive and outraged. They weren't brought to shame about their behavior, but were instead - as always - put out with their daughter that she had not had more consideration for them. I've encountered Eeeevil Parents in a couple of books lately, and sighed over them, wanting more depth to make them realistic ¿ in Patty's parents the lack of depth is partly down to the story being told by a twelve-year-old. She had no way of knowing any kind of motivation for how they treated her, no way to fathom the psychology. She doesn't look for excuses for them - she simply shoulders the responsibility for it (she's not a good person) and tries to make amends. It's horrifying.Looking over what I've written I see variations on the word "desperate" popping up. And for a brief book written in a fairly light tone, centered around the suburban life of a twelve-year-old merchant's daughter in 20th century Alabama, there is a
montano on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite books. A great story about a girl, Patty Bergen who is a misfit in her own (Jewish)family. Set in Arkansas, during WWII, a German prisoner of war escapes from a nearby camp and Patty shelters him. She comes to know him as a person, not as a Nazi soldier and he gives her the acceptance and love her family doesn't. A real tear jerker.
Crewman_Number_6 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This will always be one of my favorites from childhood. I have read it several times and never grow tired of it.
ForTheArtOfIt More than 1 year ago
I read this book several times when I was growing up.  It is one of the few books that I clearly remember reading as a young girl.  I picked it up as an adult not sure what my response would be.  Certainly I had a connection to it when I was younger and having finished it today I can say that the connection remains.  My heart aches for Patty and there were several times when tears welled up in my eyes.  This book is set during World War Two and explores the themes of racism (not just black/white but also American/German), patriotism, family, and abuse.  As a teacher, I believe in the power of pairing literature with historical events and this book would work so well in the classroom.  I remember being surprised to learn that there had been POWs on American soil during the war and even more surprised to learn about Japanese Internment camps - two facts that are never mentioned in history textbooks (some high school texts may now reference internment camps).   That being said, the age difference in this book was shocking to me as an adult.  I don't recall thinking anything about it when I was a child.  Patty is twelve and Anton is certainly older. His age isn't specified but at least he is 18 probably older but no more than 20.  As an adult, that's a really big age gap and seems weird. So that would need to be acknowledged as would the use of slang language that is no longer considered to be appropriate. I remember why I thought this was such a great book growing up and think that it should be more widely read.
avidreaderctb More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. I was about the age of the girl's little sister during WW11 so it brought back a lot of memories. I was surprised at how many of my friends didn't know that we actually had POW camps here in the US. Well written and one I hated to have to put down for a minute.
MsSpitfire66 More than 1 year ago
Although this was an older book from the 70's, I had wanted to read it since the 6th grade! This was a really good story! I always wondered (after seeing the made-for-TV movie) if it was based on a true story and after reading a note fron the author found out it is! I think it made the book more emotional for me! Read the book! You will find ourself cheering Patty on as she refuses to give into her parent's abuse of her and still remains a truly good person!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Greene is a captivating piece told through the eyes of a ten year old American Jewish girl whose town is holding a P.O.W. camp filled with German soldiers. Young Patty tells of her family and friends as she is whipped back and forth between right and wrong. Throughout the book Patty is finding who she is as a person, daughter,friend,sister,and granddaughter. This piece is captivating and brings a new perspective of Love and its power. One of my favorite things about this book is that it didn't have a so called cookie cutter ending. It was realistic and brought me in pulling on my heart strings. My favorite quote from this book was  Quote: “But if Ruth played the piano I think she’d play only the cracks between the keys. She seems best suited for walking that thinnest of lines between respectfulness and subservience.” I love this quote because it shows how the story is told through child's eyes when speaking of the piano and then shows how smart Patty is and how she really peices things together and is more mature than her age. This book had a lot of connections made to the Bible. Patty has mainly one friend and that is her “caretaker” Ruth, who is an African American women who cooks cleans and takes care of Patty and her sister. Ruth is the one that quotes the most scripture and has the girls pray before they eat. Patty Has no relationship with her mother other than knowing she will never be good enough and as for her father her only physical contact with him is with his belt or fists. Patty grows throughout this book and learns Quote: “So, P.B I speak as an expert When I say you will have it all…. Because you are no common garden flower you are unique.” and realizes she is worth something.-H.S
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Summer of my german soldier  bette greene’s summer of my german soldier features a dynamic main character finds love and learn to appreciate herself in poor family relationships. The book is noteworthy for its character development as the novel progress, the character’s ability to change despite bad circumstances in her family, and the emotion the book evokes, bette greene known for writing summer of my german soldier based off her childhood experiences which she written into the book. Summer of my german soldier which one of its main theme is self-esteem to which the main character lacks. bette greene’s book asks readers can self esteem be raised from love? yep self esteem can be raised.  The book has a interesting plot because the novel uses memories to explain some events, and more insight into the reasons for the character's low self-worth and allowing for some emotional connection as when the character mentions giving a shirt to her father but ignores it but shows little appreciation for his daughter’s gift, and the mother forces the protagonist to get her hair done because she doesn’t like how its unneatly fashioned.  The characterization is average though as “ the character is directly described in appearance but readers need to read certain phrases to grasp character personalities, as in the phrase “some day when the war is over,” “ I heard the sound of conviction in my voice” “you’ll go back to school, become a doctor.”(greene bette summer of my german soldier) showing signs of hope in the character’s voice.  bette greene uses a good quality of figurative language to get her point across which is unique “ he was looking at me like he saw me- like he liked what he saw.”(greene bette summer of my german soldier) bette greene allows for character development and the idea of saving others by risking yourself, as the story progress the protagonist changes.  The novel also gives some romance and allows readers to connect easily through its deep emotion with the main character.  I liked how Summer of my german soldier allows for character development and the use of a family setting and uses some romance to allow for this character development but one meeting with a loved one can’t improve one’s self esteem because there's still problems that haven't been solved to improve one’s self esteem. one problem is the familial abuse of the father in the story that angered me or the mother’s emotional abuse which wasn’t solved for the character in its conclusion but allowed for me to connect to the character. The book is similar to story called shadows of war which both uses the setting of wartime, elements of death and infatuation, but shadows of war lacks any emotional connections to the character, lack of character development, and no theme of self-esteem or families.  Summer of my german soldier when i first thought it was a romance novel i was wrong as the book is more for readers that appreciate light romance, a dynamic character, friendships, and society. Readers of the book should enjoy bette greene’s emotional but awe inspiring book of being able to improve self-esteem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great! I would definitley recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. :-)
Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
Patty Bergen craves a more caring relationship with her mother and father, but she has a pseudo-Christian mom, Ruth, who is the housekeeper. Her town has recently been designated to hold captured German prisoners, but during her summer break she comes across an escapee. Anton is not like the German prisoners, she has heard about through the town’s gossip. He is nice and caring. Patty has to choose between betraying her family and helping Anton remain safe. By keeping the dialect true to both the setting and the characters, Bette Greene takes readers on a journey back in time, to the heart of a small community in the South. Though this can be difficult for some readers, it helps keep the story genuine. Told through the eyes of a twelve year old girl, young readers can relate to the main character’s emotions and struggles. Packed full of moral dilemmas, this book demonstrates the importance of acceptance and being nonjudgmental. Despite the fact that most readers had to read this in school, this is a wonderful book to go back and re-read, several times over. Notes: This review was written for My Sister's Books. This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews site.