Thursday, December 24, 2009

Momo by Michael Ende

I promised I would talk about Momo when I started this blog last year. I decided to start my Christmas holidays with this favourite book. I am so happy to say I was not disappointed. It is about 25 years since I first read Momo on the recommendation of a young friend who had encountered the original translated edition entitled The Grey Men.

Momo is a modern allegory about TIME and it has certainly passed the test of time. For me this story was as fresh today as it was when I first read it.

The grey men are robbing people of their time. “They were experts on time just as leeches are experts on blood.”

2,207,520,000 that is the number of seconds in a life assuming you live to seventy. Agents as the Grey Men are called are able to convince people to give away their time on the promise that it is going into a bank. In reality the people loose this time. “People never seemed to notice that, by saving time, they were losing something else. No one cared to admit that life was becoming ever poorer, bleaker and more monotonous.”

With the help of Professor Secundus Minutus Hora and a special tortoise called Cassiopeia, Momo needs to thwart these time thieves but she only has one hour as measured by an hour lilly. “Momo had never seem so exquisite a flower. It was composed of all the colours in the spectrum – brilliant colours such as Momo had never dreamed of.”

If I could give one book as a gift to all the families in my school it would be this one. The Neverending story by Michael Ende is a terrific book but I think Momo is even better. Look for it at a library near you today.

I was amazed to discover a film was made of this book in 1986. This preview is in German but you might enjoy it anyway! You will see all her friends including the lovely Beppo the street cleaner and Guido the storyteller and the voice you can hear is Michael Ende himself.

I also found a web site with quotes from this book and a comment from Natalie Babbitt that Momo should have been recognised as a modern classic.

My new copy has a fabulous cover. As a final bonus if you read this very special book perhaps you will discover why my blog is called Momo celebrating time to read!

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