Friday, June 25, 2010
The Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
If I have one deepest regret from my childhood it is that I didn't continue with my reading habits of childhood into my teen years and beyond. I only recall reading a few books in high school and I missed out on so much great literature. I read very few classics and hardly any of the popular books of the day. Since that time I have been playing catch-up. Today I finally read the incredible book, The Summer of My German Soldier, published in 1973 when I was in high school. Oh my, what took me so long? This book is a true treasure, one that should be read and savored by each generation. If you haven't read it, run, do not walk, to your nearest library and check it out.
The story is set in a small town in Arkansas during WWII when a young Jewish girl, Patty Bergen, comes in contact with a German soldier who is a POW at a nearby camp. Her life is altered in both good and bad ways from that point forward. Though the story is housebreaking sad, it is also poignant, sweet, and thoughtful. It addresses issues of racism and patriotism without being preachy and Greene's prose are masterful. I should warn you, have a tissue when you read it. I sat reading in the waiting room of the car dealership waiting for my car to be serviced and wept openly. Not a pretty sight, I am sure.