A Year of READING Dangerously: #55 Summer of My German Soldier

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Summer of My German Soldier

Summer of My German Soldier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer of My German Soldier, is Bette Green’s 1973 novel about young love in a small southern town during World War II.

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. [Amazon.com]

I remember reading this book in middle school and loving it. As I recall I cried buckets. SoMGS doesn’t hold quite the same appeal for me now, but I still found it a decent read. (This time though I found Ruth the most interesting character, and really would have rather read “Summer of my African American Domestic Worker.” — Guess I’ll be re-reading The Help, huh?)

So why is SoMGS perenially on the Banned Book List?

The most frequent complaints against Summer of My German Soldier concern the conclusion—Anton’s death and Patty’s punishment. Greene considers the conclusion to be socially and psychologically realistic, but the challenges have portrayed it as “pessimistic” or “unsuited to the age group. [businessclarksville.com/]

On our matrix there is certainly Cultural Insensitivity, Racism, Offensive Language (the ‘N’ word is used several times) and Violence (Patty’s father is physically abusive.)


The book was made into a television movie staring Bruce Davidson (who was wonderful) and Kristi McNichol in 1979.

The Video tape cover of the film Summer of My ...

The Video tape cover of the film Summer of My German Soldier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

2 responses to “A Year of READING Dangerously: #55 Summer of My German Soldier

  • Joan Welch

    so why is this book viewed as Dangerously I like to know I have read this one because I saw the movie and I wanted more:)

    Joan Welch I.S.S. Teacher WMMS

    • ritalovestowrite

      Hi Joan, Yeah, I feel the same way. The book has been banned (for the reasons cited in the blog above), but it falls into my Year of Reading Dangerously because it almost always shows up on banned book lists, so I’m the one being dangerous by reading it. I don’t think there is anything dangerous in it. Like most of these books I find them pretty benign. It is the act of banning books that I find much more dangerous than anything in them. I think a lot of the books on this list get put on there because of rebellious behavior on the part of the kids against the parents. And Patti does defy her father (and her nation) in the book. So, although that isn’t cited as reason for banning, I’m guessing it has something to do with it. Have you read the second book? The first chapter was at the end of the Kindle version of SoMGS I just read, and it was pretty good. You might want to pick it up. Cheers, Rita

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