~F.A.Q. from author Bette Greene~
Q. I read “Summer of My German Soldier” , and It was the book that made me cry themost. Who were your favorite authors and who taught you how to make your readers cry
A. I read a lot of wonderful books by a lot of wonderful authors, but who taught me how to make my readers feel what I was feeling was not a writer, but a singer. Judy Garland, Judy Garland, not only had a magnificent voice, but she had the courage to stand in front of thousands and expose the deepest feelings of her soul.
Q. Is it true that the best book that I have ever read SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER is banned?
A. Thank you for your compliment about Summer of My German Soldier” Banning a book in America doesn’t have anything to do with bad words or violence. We are pretty comfortable with that because it’s everywhere.“Summer of My German Soldier” was banned because of its ideas. Please see if you can see why some of the ideas may be offensive to some people.
Q.What does Patty Bergen look like?
A. Patty is unforgettable for readers because she has the courage, and the insight to feel what she feels and to actually express it. Readers all seem to have a picture in their hearts about what Patty Bergen really looks like.And none of them are wrong.
Q. What makes Patty Bergen so smart?
A. I think it’s because she has learned that friends her age or not smarter or wiser than she is, but Ruth is different and because of her years and life experinces she is so much wiser. So the girl drinks up Ruth’s wisdom and loves Ruth for who she is and for her loving and true teaching abilities.
Q.Did Patty and Anton have a love affair?
A. No. A physical relationship between a 12 year old girl and a 24 year old man would not be called a love affair because that wouldn’t be love. It would be exploitation.
Q.Did Patty Bergen and her little sister, Sharon ever grow up to have a wonderful sisterly love?
A.No. Sharon grew up believing that she was the good daughter, and Patty was not one-bit good. That’s what her parents taught. So that’s what she believed.
Q. Why did the Bergens love Sharon, but not Patty?
A. For starters, Sharon was the perfect little girl, according to everybody that knew her. She was born cute and pretty and there was nothing she liked better than to show off her dance lessons to everybody who’d watch. Dressing up in her mother’s clothes, Sharon loved to play dress up and stomp around in high heels. Patty was quieter, more thoughtful and, unlike nobody else in town, she wore cowboy boots and jodfers. She also had a peculiar hobby— she read Webster’s Dictionary because she was interested in what the words meant— really meant. Besides that it had another purpose that was a little bit of a secret. She wanted to be a writer so she could stick her nose into other people’s business and get paid for it.
Q. Was there one thing that most annoyed Mr. Bergen about Patty?
A. There was so many things about Patty that angered her father. But high on the list was Patty’s need to understand and so when he said something, she’d want to know more. So she’d ask him why. He considered that she was contra-dicting him.
Q. In the book, Summer of My German Soldier, there’s one thing I didn’t understand and that’s when her grandfather says that there wouldn’t have been so much fuss about Patty’s crime if Patty were a Baptist, and not Jewish. You don’t believe that, do you?
Q. I love Anton Reiker, and I’d like to marry somebody just like him, Are there a lot of boys in Germany like him?
A. Anton was a beautiful young man who was brave and kind and the world just doesn’t have enough people like him, not in Germany, not in any country,