Book Review, Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
The book, Summer of My German Soldier, is an example of historical fiction, set in Arkansas, America during World War 2. It tells the story of 12 year old Patty, a Jewish girl, who shelters a young German soldier who escapes from the camp for German prisoners in her hometown. The story opens with the arrival of the German prisoners of war at the train station. From the first chapters we find out about the daily routine of Patty and her family. The reader learns important information about the setting and the characters which explains their behaviour throughout the novel. We learn of the lack of warmth and love from Patty’s parents and also of the contrasting loving relationships with Ruth, her nanny, and her grandparents. In addition, we see evidence of the father’s brutality when he beats her savagely because she breaks a window. Her isolation, feelings of failure and of not being good enough for her parents are also shown. These chapters also highlight the racism, discrimination and prejudices in the community which make people feel like outcasts. The people in the community are also quite frightened by what the German prisoners might do to them. In chapter 3, Patty meets Anton for the first time when the POWs come into Patty’s father shop to buy hats. Her feelings for him develop from this moment. In chapter 7, the build-up to the climax begins when Anton escapes from his prison camp and Patty decides to shelter him in her hide-out. In the following chapters we learn more about Anton’s life with his English mother and German father. He comes from Gottingen in German and he used to study history at university. A few chapters later, Anton has to leave Patty because he is being hunted by the FBI. Before leaving, he gives her a 24 carat gold ring, his most valuable possession. In chapter 14, there is a change of setting, Patty goes back to school, and her adventure with Anton is finished. Patty’s...
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