Summer of My German Soldier Chapters 16-17 Summary
by Bette Greene

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Chapters 16-17 Summary

As fall wanes and winter draws near, Patty evaluates the gains and losses in her life. Her losses, though they are greater than any gains, are only one: Anton. Her gains include her relationship with her father. Although she knows that Mr. Bergen still does not love her, Patty recognizes that he now looks at her with something akin to respect, and the knowledge that, whatever he does, he will never destroy her. Patty is sitting in the hideout alone one day, ruminating about these things, and making plans for her future. She fantasizes about using the thousand-dollar war bond that Grandpa and Grandma Fried have given her for her education to go to Germany, where she will be united with Anton once again.

Patty's reverie is interrupted by Ruth, who calls out that Mr. Bergen is coming home and wants to see her. Ruth cautions Patty just to let her father have his say about whatever he wishes to discuss. Patty agrees, but worries that he will try to take Anton's ring away from her. The ring is the most valuable thing she owns; it is like her Bible, and, in Ruth's words, it tells "one of them same stories the Bible do, love thy neighbor."

Mr. Bergen arrives with two men from the FBI. One of them, Mr. Pierce, wishes to interrogate Patty. Mr. Bergen tells him that though his daughter is a liar, she is nonetheless a loyal American and "wouldn't spit on a Nazi if his body was on fire." Mr. Pierce questions Patty about the "tramp" to whom she had reportedly given food during the past summer, and from whom she had received a ring. After peppering her with a series of rapid-fire queries, he shows her a picture of Anton, and a blue shirt with a tear near the shoulder. The shirt is the Father's Day gift that Mr. Bergen had rejected and that Patty had subsequently given to her friend.

As Mr. Pierce accuses her of having given the shirt to an escaped prisoner of war, Patty realizes that the hole in the fabric is stained with blood. Hysterically, she screams, "Did you hurt him?" and when the FBI agent demands the person's name, she cries out, "Frederick Anton Reiker." A...

(The entire section is 564 words.)