Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Momo - Michael Ende

There are some people who would call Michael Ende a Marxist; he grew up in pre-war Germany and there were many Marxists about at that time.  I wouldn't use the Marxist word, however; this is a children's book and Marxism is a dirty word - like smelly socks, or the underwear of some well-spoken politician.  Yet, there is a strong sense in Ende that if people could open their imagination, work together, doing their best and caring for the world, that we might all live slower, happier, more satisfied lives.

Anyway, the romance of political ideologies aside, Momo is a fantastic romantic adventure.  It is possible from the outset to find traces of Harry Potter; though Momo precedes Potter by decades.  Its heroine is an orphan, has a shock of black hair; and the enforcers of villainy are men in grey, men who suck happiness from people's lives.  To battle them, what is needed is a turtle, a professor of time, an hour-lilly and a young girl who listens to everybody.

I strongly recommend this book.  We came across it when looking up the only other Ende novel I have read - Never Ending Story.  The shopkeeper, when we bought it, said that Momo was 'flying off the shelves' (her words).  I am convinced that young readers will enjoy the adventure, the accessible and compelling morals.  I am also convinced that there is enough provocative thinking in Ende's book to satisfy a - smelly socks or not - adult.

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