Summer of My German Soldier

by Bette Greene

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How does Patty's mother abuse her in Summer of My German Soldier?

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Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene is a narrative of an adolescent Jewish girl, Patty Bergen, who is growing up in Arkansas. It was first published in 1973 and adapted for television in 1978. The time frame is mid-1945, near the end of the second World War.

The two other main characters are Anton Reiker, a half-English German foot soldier, and the Bergens' "Negro" maid, Ruth. Neither Anton nor his father embrace Hitler's ideology. Young Reiker is being hidden by Patty in her father's garage. Ruth is the primary caregiver for Patty and her sister, Sharon. Ruth is extremely loyal, loving, and influential concerning Patty.

Harry and Pearl Bergen, Patty's parents, are both abusive to her. Harry's abuse is physical, in the form of beatings. Her mother's abuse is psychological, in the form of negative references concerning Patty's appearance and behavior. These comments are spoken directly to Patty and to everyone else. Pearl also makes it abundantly clear that she favors the younger sister, Sharon.

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