Summer Of My German Soldier

“‘It’s truly extraordinary,’ he said… ‘Who would believe it?  Jewish girl risks all for German soldier,’Tell me Patty Bergen,’ his voice became soft, but with a trace of hoarseness-’why are you doing this for me?’ ‘It wasn’t complicated. Why didn’t he know? There was really only one word for it.  A simple little word that in itself is reason enough.’”

-Summer of my German Soldier


After the installation of the German prisoners in Jenkinsville, Arkansas during World War II, Patty Bergen’s whole summer changes.  Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene, tells the story of an unexpected friendship between a young Jewish girl around the age of twelve and a German soldier in his early twenties during the Holocaust and World War II.  Patty Bergen has summer vacation but is spiritless.  Her chronically angry father would not let her go to Christian camp with all of her friends, so she is stuck in the boring town of Jenkinsville, Arkansas with only two friends, one of which she has been banned from seeing.  On one of her usually tedious days, she walks downtown to her parents’ store to see if they could use any assistance manning one of the many counters. Patty was standing in front of a glass case full of plastic diamonds and pearls when the German soldiers came in, escorted by members of U.S. military.

One of the soldiers stood out to her.  It may have been that he was the only Nazi who could speak English in the large department store, or that he kindly and politely talked to Patty and presented her the title of being his first American friend, or that she was immediately drawn to him.  Whatever the reason, Patty could not wait to see him again.

Bette Greene’s Summer of My German Soldier was an intriguing book that displayed to readers what it was like in the everyday life of a German hostage, an African American maid, and a young American Jewish girl, during the time of the Holocaust (1933-1945).  Although the main situation in this book was not necessarily realistic, a Jewish girl harbored a Nazi while the American Military endlessly canvassed the country for that specific soldier,  most aspects of the book were, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Summer of my German Soldier was an amazing book because it showed readers that even the worst of enemies can be the best of friends.  Bette Greene ingeniously played with readers’ emotions and easily made readers either loathe or adore a character in the blink of an eye.  Although some people may love this book, it is not meant for everybody.  Since Summer of My German Soldier was written and takes place such a long time ago, it has words that are considered extremely offensive nowadays, and some violent concepts that are presently thought of as unacceptable. This book should be read by people who enjoy dark subject matter and no romance; otherwise, this book is not for you.  I recommend Summer of My German Soldier to people twelve and older.