Momo, by Michael Ende ★★★★
Momo is a children’s book, written entirely in German, by the same author that wrote The Never Ending Story. It is the tale of a small orphan girl living alone in the ruins of an ancient city, adjacent to a large modern city. Over the course of the story, she encounters the Die Graue Herren, the grey men, who go around stealing time from people. In the process, everybody becomes too busy for everything and has no time for relationships. Momo is eventually able to determine how to fight the grey men through the help of a tortoise and Prof. Hora, and give civilization its time back. It’s a cute story, written for about the 8th-grade level, which is also essentially my level for reading without the excessive use of a dictionary. Mr. Ende tends to have a socialist slant towards life, reflective in this writing, but he does drive home the truth that honesty and loving relationships are more important than wealth and efficiency. Ende’s book doesn’t end with balance, and doesn’t show that both efficiency and relationships are important – it’s an either/or situation for him. His book makes the strongest statement against the state efficiency of the East German government and regimes of the like.