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Big Game of Everything, The Library Binding – September 2, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Introspective and curious, Jock is considering questions many people never get around to puzzling out: What is the true measure of success? Is it money? Or, is it somehow achievable merely by defining one's own vision of happiness and making it happen? While most young adults' values are defined by friends and family, Jock's moral compass lacks an obvious pole to fix upon. His hippieish parents happily operate a barbershop with a backward business plan based on convincing would-be patrons to let their hair grow, and his younger brother brazenly takes materialistic self-interest, snarkiness, and sloth to laughable heights. Jock's main challenge in this crash course in self-discovery lies in figuring out if the employer he idolizes, the owner of the underutilized golf complex on which he works—and who also happens to be his grandfather—is a worthy role model or a tortured train in the midst of derailment. Unlike Jock's parents, Grampus claims to believe in entrepreneurial ambition. He pursues those goals in idiosyncratic fashion, running and expanding his 13-hole golf course on his own terms, often shoeless and shirtless—and sometimes in a kilt. Jock begins to wonder if his grandfather's a winner, a loser, or something in between—until a series of unexpected visits and a mild stroke force the answer. The Big Game of Everything is a funny and thoughtful novel that considers the true nature of class, happiness, and success through the eyes of a teenage boy.—Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Jock and his younger brother Egon—constantly at odds but nearly inseparable—spend a summer working at their grandfather’s golf course in this lighthearted but poignant story. When two of Grampus’ old marine buddies show up, throwing their money around and wowing young Egon by buying whatever they want, often simply so that no one else can have it, Jock begins to see Grampus in a new light, revealing a deeply sad man notching his self-worth against the yardstick of wealth. In a golf-as-life touch, Grampus’ unfinished golf course has only 13 holes (“For a full round pick your favorite five holes and replay them”), and the game takes on cosmic weight as Jock challenges a bully to a round in a massive thunderstorm: “I am doing something hard, and it feels important, even if to the outside world it might look stupid.” The lesson—that the most heart, not the most stuff, wins the real points in life—is handled cleanly enough to keep even non-golfers involved in the humorous exploits of Jock and his family. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 275 pages
  • Publisher: HarperColl (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060740353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060740351
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,189,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Thirteen-year-old Jock thinks his family is incredibly weird. His hippy, vegetarian parents named him Union Jack (though at age six he wanted it to be pronounced Onion Jock). They insist that everyone --- including their own kids --- call them by their first names.

Leonard and Peach run a barbershop/manicurist/palm reading establishment called Fame&Fortune, but they don't give a hoot about making lots of money. They're the complete opposite of Jock's grandfather, who believes that the key to happiness is cold hard cash. He owns and manages his own golf course, all 13 holes of it (Grampus is in the process of constructing the 14th one himself).

Jock's younger brother, Egon, takes after his grandfather in the money grubbing area, but is about a hundred times worse. Another personality flaw of his is that he takes great pleasure in picking on Jock (or Dingleberry, as he calls him), both physically and verbally, though he is the first one to come to Jock's rescue when bullies like the Noblett brothers threaten him.

Despite his eccentric family, Jock looks forward to the approaching summer vacation as he and Egon will work at the golf course. Jock loves the compound, as they call it, and thinks it's the greatest place in the world, owned and managed by the greatest person in the world. Even though the pay isn't very consistent, and he sometimes has to clean the public restrooms, Jock is happiest when at the golf course. He doesn't even like to play the sport, though he enjoys hitting balls at the driving range. But then something happens that changes everything.

Grampus suffers a stroke, and his loved ones discover that the golf course is failing financially. As he slowly starts to recover, Grampus comes to see life in a new light.
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Format: Hardcover
Jock has lined up the perfect summer job working at his grandfather's golf course. He figures work will probably be sporadic and he looks forward to racing around the greens in one of the golf carts from Grampus's mighty fleet. But sure enough, just like in golf, he slices.

It turns out he and his bumbling, antagonistic, younger brother, Egon, are the only caretakers Grampus has hired for the summer. And the mighty fleet turns out to be only two golf carts, and Grampus uses one of them for his dates with the lesson of the week. Like Jock, Grampus embraces the sun and heat, and somehow it's always Jock, not Egon, who gets the chore of rubbing sunscreen onto Grampus's back so he can work wearing only a kilt, creating the 13th hole of the course with his enormous digger.

Is this crazy loon the same grandfather Jock has always admired? Is his life still the life Jock envies and yearns for?

When two old friends of Grampus' show up, flashing their bling and offering to purchase his cherished snooker table, Jock begins to see a side of Grampus that he's never seen before. Leonard, Jock's flakey barbershop dad, who tries to convince people not to cut their hair; Peaches, his psychic, palm-reading mother; and even Grammus, Jock's rich and independent grandmother, surprise Jock as they come together to help Grampus save his golf course.

Jock finds out that yes, life's about playing the big game of everything, but more than that, life is about family.

In THE BIG GAME OF EVERYTHING, Chris Lynch finds humor in the mundane, and turns the ordinary into the unexpected. This novel is great for a lazy afternoon when what you want most is a quiet, calming read, with laugher sprinkled throughout.

Reviewed by: Cana Rensberger
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Format: Hardcover
Contemporary YA

Rating: 3 Enchantments

Union Jack (pronounced Onion Jock) is a relatively normal guy except for the fact that his family is rather eccentric. If one couldn't already tell from Jock's unusual name, the people Jock resides with lean a little more towards loony. Jock's father Leonard, a hairdresser, probably spends more time trying to convince his customers to not get their hair cute, and Jock's younger brother Egon, Jock's spokesdevil, is physically larger than Jock and enjoys terrorizing him and other people (in a friendly way of course). But through all this strangeness, Jock still loves his family because, well, they're his family.

If there's one person in Jock's family he admires the most, it is his Grampus. This is thy Jock looks forward to a summer of helping run Grampus' not-quite-finished golf course. But Jock's not going to get the simple summer he expected, especially after two of Grampus' old friends show up at the golf course. With the introduction of The Big Game of Everything, Jock's relationship with Grampus as well as his view of the world shifts, and it's up to him to discover what really is most important to him.

THE BIG GAME OF EVERYTHING turned out to be only a mediocre story, which was a disappointment to me. Based on the back-cover summary, I was expecting a laugh-out-loud story that was meaningful, but instead, I got only a couple of chuckles and some confusion. Part of this is a result of the wacky characters; I felt the characters' eccentricities worked against the story because they never truly gained my sympathy. The plot was pretty boring most of the time as well, which made me lose interest in the story most of the time.
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