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When German prisoners of war are brought to her Arkansas town during World War II, twelve-year-old Patty, a Jewish girl, befriends one of them and must deal with the consequences of that friendship.
1. She's A-Coming
when I saw the crowd gathering at the train station, I worried what President Roosevelt would think. I just hope he doesn't get the idea that Jenkinsville, Arkansas, can't be trusted with a military secret because, truth of the matter is, we're as patriotic as anybody.
In front of the station house five or six Boy Scouts in full uniform circled their leader, Jimmy Wells, who was wearing the same expression Dane Clark wore as the Marine sergeant in Infamy at Pearl Harbor. "This is the situation, guys," Jimmy said. "The sheriff told me it's the Army's job to get the Nazis off the train and into the prison camp, but I figger they'll be mighty glad to have us Scouts on hand. And if any of those rats try to make a getaway"—he slapped the leather-encased Scout ax strapped to his waist—"we know what to do."
I looked around for a friendly group to join. Mary Wren was holding onto the arm of Reverend Benn's wife as though that was going to provide her with the Lord's own protection. There are plenty of jokes going around about our town's telephone operator. People say Mary is so generous that she'll give you the gossip right off her tongue.
Then I saw old Chester, the colored porter from my father's store, closing his eyes against the brilliant June sun.
I walked over. "Hey, Chester, don't you think this is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to our town?"
His eyes jerked open. "I'm going back to the stock room right now, Miss Patty. Ain't been gone more'n two, maybe three minutes."
"Don't go on account of me, Chester. I won't tell my father. Honest." Chester smiled wide enough to show his gold tooth. "I've never in my whole life seen a German, I mean, in person. Have you?"
"I seen some foreigners once, but they was fortune-telling gypsies."
I looked over to where Sheriff Cauldwell, Mr. George C. Henkins, the president of the Jenkinsville Rotary Club, and Mr. Quentin Blakey, editor of the Rice County Gazette, were standing on the gray-white gravel. "I wonder what the sheriff is saying about all this," I said, heading toward them.
Mr. Blakey's head was pitched back to look into the sun-and-leather face of the sheriff. "I said, 'Captain, I know you're only doing your job as a public information officer, but I'll never understand why I'm not supposed to write about what everybody here already knows about.'"
"That's telling him, Quent," said the sheriff, looking amused.
"More to it than that," said Mr. Blakey. "Captain wouldn't tell me how many POW camps there are or where they're located, but after awhile he forgot about security—told me that up in Boston they got a bunch of Italian prisoners who do nothing but clean up after the elephants in Franklin Park."
Sheriff Cauldwell leaned his big head back and laughed the laugh of the healthy. "Captain wasn't talking security, he was talking crap."
From down the tracks, a whistle. Jimmy Wells ran over to one of the rails, dropped to his knees, and pressed his ear against it. His features were molded into Dane Clark's odds-are-against-us-but-we-can-do-it expression as he announced, "She's a-coming!"
All talking stopped and the small clusters of people began merging into one single mass. Even Chester, the only Negro, was now standing in arm-touching contact with whites.
Then amid hissing, steamy clouds of white, the train braked, screeched, and finally came to a halt.
From the crowd a woman's voice—it may have been Reverend Benn's wife—asked, "Well, where are they?"
Jimmy Wells pointed to the last passenger car. "There!"
Everyone hurried toward the end of the train in time to see two GIs with their side arms still strapped in their holsters step quickly from the car. Then came the Germans. The crowd moved back slightly, leaving a one-person-wide path between themselves and the train.
The prisoners were unhandcuffed, unchained young men carrying regulation Army duffel bags. They wore fresh blue denim pants and matching shirts, and if it hadn't been for the black "POW" stenciled across their shirt backs you could easily have mistaken them for an ordinary crew from the Arkansas Public Works Department sent out to repair a stretch of highway. I tried to read their faces for brutality, terror, humiliation—something. But the only thing I sensed was a kind of relief at finally having arrived at their destination.
"Nazis!" A woman's voice shouted. And this time I knew for sure that it was Mrs. Benn.
A blond prisoner who was stepping off the train at that moment stopped short then smiled and waved. It was as though he believed, or wanted to believe, that Mrs. Benn's call was nothing more than a friendly American greeting.
I raised my hand, but before I completed a full wave Mary Wren pressed it down, shaking her head.
"I'm sorry, but I didn't think it would be polite—I guess I just forgot," I said, wondering if I was going to be served up as the main course for Mary Wren's gossip of the day.
The last two prisoners stepped off the train—there were fifteen or sixteen, maybe twenty in all. After them came two more American guards, one a sergeant. As the procession walked down the gravel slope to the waiting Army truck Jimmy Wells tapped on the sleeve of the American sergeant. "You mean this is all the Jerries we're gonna get?"
"Don't worry, son," said the sergeant. "We're gonna keep you folks well supplied. Most of them have already been transported here by truck caravan."
The prisoners and then the GIs climbed aboard the canvas-covered vehicle. At the highway it made a right turn and, shifting gears noisily, disappeared from sight.
And so I had seen it; all there was to see. Yet I felt a nagging disappointment as though something were missing. In the movies war criminals being hustled off to prison would be dramatic. Their ravaged faces would tell a story of defeat, disgrace, and downfall. But in real life it didn't seem all that important. Not really a big deal. My stomach growled, reminding me that it must be nearing lunchtime. I followed the railroad embankment toward home, walking sometimes between the tracks and sometimes only on one track, balancing like a tightrope walker.
I passed everybody's back yard: the Rhodes', the Reeves's, the Benn's, their laundry blowing on the line. The reverend wears striped boxer-style shorts, and the Mrs. has very heavy bosoms. Her bras look like a D cup to me.
Parallel to our Victory Garden I ran down the embankment past the lettuce, sweet corn, and tomatoes. The government says that until victory is won everybody with a bit of land should grow their own food. Now, I know my father's patriotic all right, but he's not doing exactly what the government asked us to do. A colored man, Grover, is the one who did the planting.
I could see Ruth on the back porch, squeezing the clothes through the wringer. She is the color of hot chocolate before the marshmallow bleeds in. Sometimes I hear my mother telling her to lose weight. "It's not healthy to be fat." But she isn't actually fat; it's just that she has to wear large sizes. I mean, it wouldn't be Ruth if she were like my mother. And another thing, a little extra weight keeps a person warm inside.
"Hey, Ruth!" She looked up from her wash. "Ruth, know where I was? With the Germans going to the prison camp!"
She gave me her have-you-been-up-to-some-devilment look.
"I didn't do a single thing wrong!" I said, wondering if my wave would count against me. I decided that it wouldn't. "This is still my week to be good and sweet. I haven't forgotten."
Her face opened wide enough to catch the sunshine. "I'm mighty pleased to hear it. 'Cause before this week is through, your mamma and daddy gonna recognize your natural sweetness and give you some back, and then you is gonna return even more and—"
"Maybe so," I interrupted her, and she went back to putting bed sheets through the wringer, understanding that I didn't want to talk about them anymore.
"There was this sergeant guarding the prisoners—you should have seen his medals. I'm going to pray for Robert tonight, that he comes home with lots of medals—more than Jimmy Wells."
"Jimmy Wells?" Ruth repeated the name as though she hadn't heard right. "Jimmy Wells ain't no soldier!"
"No, but he must have about every medal that the Boy Scouts know how to give."
"Well, I don't care nothing about no wars and no medals, I jest cares about my boy coming back safe."
I wanted to tell her she had to care, how important it was for us to win this war. Put an end to Nazism forever! But I could see that Ruth's heart was too troubled to enter into that kind of discussion, so I just said again I'd remember Robert in my prayers.
A slow smile spread across her face and I found myself smiling too. See, I congratulated myself, I don't always do everything wrong.
"Go bring Sharon in from the sandpile," said Ruth. "I'll fix us up some good ole wienies and beans for lunch."
"Oh, I don't think I want any."
"Don't you go telling me what you don't be wanting, Miss Skin-and-Bones."
"Am not! As a matter of fact, if you haven't noticed, I'm really quite formidable." I exposed teeth, squinted eyes, and fashioned claws out of my hands. "Terribly and ferociously formidable!"
"That today's word?" asked Ruth.
"Yes. Isn't it grand? It means 'exciting fear or dread.' Like it?"
"I likes it right well," said Ruth thoughtfully. "But I thinks one of my best favorites is one of them from last month. 'Cause one night after I got home and fixed up some supper for Claude and me and cleaned up my kitchen, I got to noticing my shelf paper was getting a mite yellow so I says I better take care of it right now. Claude says leave it for another time 'cause it's pretty near to seven o'clock and I bees needing my rest. And I says Claude, you is right, but trouble is you done married a fastidious wife. A real fastidious wife."
My sister was sitting straight up in the sandpile, shoveling sand over her legs. Sharon's not yet six—exactly five years and ten months. But whatever she does seems to have, at least to her, a kind of purpose.
"Hey, Sharon," I called, "where are your legs?"
She giggled like she knew something I didn't. "Under the sand, silly."
"Are you absolutely sure? 'Cause once I had a friend named John Paul Jones, and John Paul put both legs under a lot of sand and when he went to pull them out—no legs. All those hungry little sand bugs had eaten them right off."
Sharon lifted her legs straight into the air. She seemed enormously pleased. "Well, I've still got mine. See?"
In the center of the square, breakfast-room table a bunch of back-yard roses lounged in a flowered glass that had once held pimento cheese. Ruth carried in steaming plates of wienies and beans and some cut-up tomatoes, lettuce, and radishes from our Victory Garden. I found my appetite.
Ruth gave Sharon a nod. "Your time to be asking the Lord's Blessing."
Immediately, without thinking, I said my own silent prayer: Please, dear God, don't let my father come in now. Amen.
Sharon clasped her hands tight. "We sure do thank you, dear Lord, for all the food we're going to eat up. Amen."
"Amen, Lord," echoed Ruth.
I heard myself sigh. I think maybe I worry too much. After all, it's just plumb silly to think of him walking in on us right in the middle of our prayers. But what could happen is that Sharon might just mention it. "Christian prayers in my house!" The nerve at his temple would pulsate. Shouts of "God damn you," directed at me and maybe at Ruth.
It's not that he's against praying or anything. Before the gasoline rationing I used to go to Jewish Sunday school at the Beth Zion Synagogue in Memphis, so I know that Jews pray too. My father asked those people down at the Ration Board for some extra stamps, but Mr. Raymond Hubbard said that he thought eighty miles round trip was a long ways to go praying and he couldn't in good conscience consider it a priority item.
"I made up some Jell-O for you," said Ruth, eyeing my empty plate.
"Uhhh, no thanks. I'm all filled up."
"I made it jest the way you like it." Her voice had softened. "It's got bananas and nuts and cut-up bits of marshmellers."
"I'll have a little. Did you, really and truly, make it especially for me?"
"Only this morning I asks myself what would Patty specially like for dessert. Then I tells myself the answer. And now you have your answer too." Ruth leaned back her head to let out a chuckle that was a full octave and a half down from middle C.
My sister took up the laugh. And her top-of-the-octave laugh struck me funny, and then everything was. That's the way it is with Ruth, Sharon, and me. It isn't that our jokes are all that great; it's like Ruth says, "We keep our jubilee in easy reach." Why can't it be that way with my mother and father? "Show them your natural sweetness," Ruth reminds me, "'cause ants ain't the only thing sweetness attracts."
I looked out the window at the summer green and wished for winter white. An Alaskan blizzard with wild winds hurling ice darts onto head-high drifts. For four days and four nights the two of them have been isolated in the store. The power is down, the oil pipes have burst, and there is no food and no water.
Ruth pleads with me not to try to reach them. "You ain't gonna save them; you is only going to kill yourself dead!"
"Fill the thermos with hot soup," I tell her.
Seven times I think I can't go on. The drifts too high, my feet and face beyond any feeling. But I do go on and on and on, and finally I make it. I feed them soup and tuna-fish sandwiches, and when they regain their strength, they tell me how much they love me—how much they have always loved me.
"What you expecting to see out that window?" asked Ruth. "The Second Coming of the Lord?"
Never would I want her to suspect me of dreaming of a miracle. "I was just thinking I might take a walk down to the store. See what's cooking."
She didn't look exactly thrilled by my idea.
"Isn't it you who's always reminding me to be sweet? Now what could be more thoughtful than bringing them up-to-the-minute war news?" They would like that too. Doesn't my father listen to the five-minute news with his neck jutting out towards the radio? And when H. V. Kaltenborn comes on I swear if his nose isn't just about touching the cloth-covered speaker.
Ruth dropped her head into the U between her thumb and her first finger. "I expect you spent the morning advising President Roosevelt on where to send his armies. That where you got your up-to-the-second war news?"
"If you don't think a hundred ferocious Nazi prisoners arriving at the Jenkinsville depot is war news then I don't know what is."
On Ruth's face was the dawning of a smile. "Got some sweetness to go with your up-to-the-second news?"
I stood up. "Maybe you oughta spend a little time telling my father and mother to serve some sweetness to me."
"Reckon they'd listen?"
Ruth nodded her agreement. "Could you tell this old lady why you is always talking about your father when all the other young girls be talking about their daddies?"
"Well, daddies act one way and fathers act another. And anyway, I don't happen to be a young girl. I've been a teenager already for two years."
She laughed. "Oh, Honey Babe, how can you be a teenager when you is only twelve?"
"'Cause I've been one since I was ten. Not many people know this, Ruth, but teenage actually starts when you get two numbers to your age. See?"
I could tell that I hadn't convinced her. "Don't you see, ten is in reality tenteen. Now people don't generally go around calling it tenteen cause it sounds too much like the chewing gum, but that's the only reason."
The smile that Ruth had been holding in suddenly broke through. "Honey, you jest all the time go round making up rules to suit yourself. I got myself two big numbers to my age and I shore ain't no teenager."
"Well, I can explain that. When you have two numbers to your age, you're either teenage or after teenage. And you just happen to be after teenage, understand?"
"I thinks I'm beginning to see the light and I do 'preciate the kind explanation, little Miss Genius."
"Make fun of me and I'll stop talking to you."
"Can't good friends kid each other a little? Make each other smile?"
"I guess so. I've got to go to the store now."
"Hold up a pretty minute, Patty. I want you to do me a mighty big favor only you can do."
I tried to hide my pleasure that somebody needed a favor only I could do.
"I want you to take off them faded old shorts and put on one of them nice pretty dresses of yours."
Excerpted from Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene. Copyright © 1973 Bette Greene. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted August 23, 2010
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!!! :)
17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2008
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. <BR/> 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.<BR/> 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. <BR/> 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. <BR/> 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.
9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2009
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.
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 28, 2012
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
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2012
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.
6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2012
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.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2013
Posted December 25, 2012
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.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2012
Posted June 29, 2008
This book is terribly depressing and poorly written and laid out. The description makes the book sound so good- but do not be deceived! The end is HORRIBLE and i would never recommend reading it. Although the author had good intentions the book did not reflect her effort.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 15, 2008
Posted June 22, 2004
I read this book for a school Book Report and i was very dissapointed. My expectations weren't very high to begin with, but i was amazed at the lack of substance that the book contained. The plot was weak, basically about a girl whoes parents dont love her, and of course, the german soldier. She gets caught helping him and that is basically the whole story line. If you have to do a book report on WWII, dont chose this one. I thought that it would be about how the war effected life in America, but the book is more about Patty and rarely touches on the war. I would go more in the direction of Soldier Boys, if I were you.
1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2015
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.
Posted July 18, 2014
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2014
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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.
Posted May 2, 2014
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.SWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2014
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2014
Posted December 30, 2013
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.
This review was written for My Sister's Books.
This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews site.
Posted July 15, 2013