What is the scariest robot ever

Sabine Ludwig : When robots replace mothers

Bruno is constantly encouraged by his mother to practice the piano, although he has no talent for it and would rather box. Emily's mother is as clumsy as she is unreliable, and Sofia's mother only has eyes and ears for Sofia's little brother. Independently of each other, the three troubled children find a platform for their worries at www.schreckliche-muetter.de and at the same time take part in a competition for the most terrible mother in the world with detailed information on their situation. Only a short time later, their mothers disappeared without saying goodbye and the children meet unknown aunts who are now supposed to take care of them.

Seemingly paradisiacal times begin, the aunts respond to the children as they have always wished - but then all three again seek advice on the Internet and also come into direct contact. They discover that each of their aunts is called "Anna", has the logo of a toy company on their necks and has recently revealed malfunctions - so they are obviously robots and the children wonder what happened to their mothers ...

With “The most terrible mothers in the world”, Sabine Ludwig has once again managed to hit the mark. The fact that mother's love sometimes overshoots is not new, but how the author uses the Anglo-Saxon narrative format of Louis to pour the new means of communication, the inventive spirit of a misunderstood genius and the business man's desire to improve the world into an adventurous story full of situation comedy Compare Sachar or MG Bauer.

In a parallel narrative thread, the suffering of the children is underlined by the new suffering of the mothers who, under false pretenses, are unexpectedly exposed to a four-week course to improve their parenting skills on a North Sea island. How the laws of group dynamics, which are also known to children, come into play after the first defense among them is as wonderfully self-deprecating as their liberation by the children is exciting.

As with Goethe's “Sorcerer's Apprentice”, it is easier to summon ghosts than to get rid of them, and so here, too, what is well-intentioned develops into a life-threatening situation for the mothers. All the more remarkable is the talent of the author to bypass the cliffs and pitfalls hidden in the plot with skillful ease, or to resolve them plausibly, so that despite all the comic situations, the seriousness of the basic problem is not laughed away and the happy ending is still not rolled flat by a morally moronic millstone.

Sabine Ludwig: The most terrible mothers in the world. Novel. Dressler Verlag, 2009. 285 pages. EUR 13.90. From ten years.

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