MOMO by Michael Ende: The Value of Time

“There is a very great mystery that is still totally everyday. Everyone is a partaker of that mystery, everyone knows about it, but only a few ever think about it. Most people just take it as it is, and do not show the greatest astonishment. That mystery is time. With these beautiful lines begins the second part of Momo, the wonderful novel by Michael Ende published in 1973 in which the author makes us reflect on time and the value we give it as individuals and as a society.

Summary book ‘MOMO’: the girl who knew how to listen

Momo Michael Ende

Momo is a girl of indeterminate age who has settled alone in an old, abandoned amphitheatre on the outskirts of the big city. She has nothing material to offer anyone, but she has a wonderful quality that makes her special: she knows how to listen. Indeed, Momo is a real listener, unhurried. She has all the time in the world to listen to anyone who wants to tell her something. Whether it’s arguments between friends or problems with neighbours, Momo listens, attentively, patiently. This quality will soon lead to her being surrounded by friends who will come to her every day to enjoy her company

But this tranquillity will be altered by the arrival of the grey men, beings who want to take over people’s time. What these grey men want is for adults(easier to trick than children) to save time by depositing it in the Time Savings Bank. Thus, under the slogan: “time saved is time doubled”, they try to convince people that time should be saved, not lived now, but saved for the future. But Momo will not be fooled and with the help of the magical tortoise Cassiopeia and Master Hora, he will embark on a fantastic adventure against the thieves of time

The value of time

We live in a society in a hurry. Accelerated, overwhelmed by the lack of time, we want everything in the moment, we need it now. We are missing out on the present. Obviously this fast-paced life, full of stress, does not bring any benefit to our health. Valuing time can bring us much more well-being and happiness than material things

My personal view

Momo is an excellent work that invites us to reflect on how we use our time. It is an excellent critique of this rushed world in which we never seem to have time to stop and appreciate the good things in life, the small details in which we can, perhaps, find happiness. Written at an agile pace, easy to read, it can be told to pre-readers or read by children who are already readers, with or without the help of adults. It is, in fact, a work for all ages because it also makes adults think about life and how we live it

It is a true critical treasure that invites us to reflect on time, patience, friendship, courage and the value of simple things. Deep and beautiful, full of beautiful sentences, this novel will touch your heart. Because, as the author knows very well, time is life.And life resides in the heart“.

Adaptation of the novel ‘MOMO’

The novel was made into a film in 1986. The adaptation, directed by Johannes Schaaf, managed to keep the spirit of Michael Ende’s novel intact. The film was also able to count on the collaboration of the great John Huston, who gave life to the master Hora in the film. In 2001, a new adaptation was released, in this case an animated film, Momo: An Adventure Against the Clock.


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