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LEGO: A Love Story Hardcover – May 1, 2010
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From the Inside Flap
The unofficial LEGO Museum lies hidden in Bellaire, Ohio, with millions of plastic bricks sculpted into everything from robotic bands to Dirk Nowitzki to a goat on a lifeguard tower. A secret set vault slumbers beneath a hidden panel in the original house of LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen in Billund, Denmark. An eleven-foot LEGO replica of a speedboat teeters on a rickety wooden dock in Seattle, Washington, threatening to plunge and sink into the Pacific Ocean as five men struggle to keep it balanced. And in the Kansas City, Missouri, home of Jonathan Bender, a massive Star Wars LEGO set leans against the wall in a vacant room.
Jonathan comes face-to-face with all of these scenes as he explores the obsessive and diverse subculture of adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs), walking the line between art and commerce, play and Serious Play, and fantasy and real life, hoping to learn how the plastic brick of our childhoods inspires us as adults.
Awakened from the "Dark Ages"that period of time when LEGO bricks are forgotten in a childhood closetBender rekindles his dream of becoming a master model builder, putting his skills to the test at adult fan conventions around the country. Here he meets fans who design their own sets, customize minifigures (LEGO people) to resemble superheroes and movie characters, and amass collections that number in the hundreds of thousands of bricks.
Bender also recruits his wifethe furniture builder in their householdto build alongside him, attempting to fill the child-size void in their lives. As their home slowly fills up with LEGO bricks, the spare bedroom swings between build room and potential nursery. Immersed in a toy-centric world without children, LEGO: A Love Story is ultimately about what it takes to build a family.
EGO: A Love Story explores what happens when the imagination of your childhood intersects with your life as an adult.
Jacket art by Nathan Sawaya, a New Yorkbased artist who creates awe-inspiring works out of some of the most unlikely things. His work has been featured in collections across the country. His most recent North American museum tours feature large-scale sculptures using only LEGO bricks. Learn more at brickartist.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Yes, at times, I thought some geekiness apparent in the telling of the story, yet an adult spending time building Lego gizmos does seem like a better way to spend time than, say, just sitting in front of a television set for three hours, doing nothing, while watching a bunch of rich guys throw a football around.
Anyway, this is a well-written book that, while not solving any of the world's problems, did make my life a little more enjoyable just in the reading.
Next time I am at a store with Lego sets, I am sure I will look at them in a new light. I might even buy one.
It's billed as a memoir, or at least that was what I thought it was, and has elements of a "project memoir" wherein the author delves into a certain subject or theme with a goal in mind. In this case, Jonathan Bender wanted to research AFOLs (adult fan of LEGO) as well as become one himself.
But I would call LEGO: A Love Story more of a researched book than a memoir. Yes, Bender shares some of his personal experiences, and the story is told through his eyes as he joins LEGO conventions and tours the headquarters in Denmark and the U.S. headquarters in Connecticut, but in general it's a feature about AFOLs and the history and future of the LEGO company.
I did learn a lot about legos. First off, you never call them "legos." LEGO is the brand, and should only be used as an adjective as in "LEGO building blocks" or "LEGO kits," or in reference to the company itself. After reading 300 pages of correct usage, I'm probably a convert and will be annoyed by everyone else's incorrect use from here on out.
I think that this book would definitely appeal to adults who play with or collect LEGO, but also to anyone who remembers LEGO fondly from their childhood. Reading this book made me happy that my son's collection is steadily growing, and honestly makes me look forward to tackling bigger projects with him.
This book could definitely be a popular Father's Day gift -- from a grown son who remembered building LEGO with his dad, or to a new father who has the opportunity to legitimize his LEGO play once again. But then again, the whole idea behind LEGO: A Love Story is that LEGO can appeal to adults in a completely unique (and legitimate) way.
The author, Jonathan Bender, travels to LEGO conventions, to the LEGO headquarters and to such places as Legoland in order to explore how adults relate to LEGO. He describes the politics behind the relationship of the Lego company to its' adult fans and the manner in which many adults acquire and use Lego. The book is sometimes very funny but also in some ways depressing and a little hard to understand if you are not a die hard Lego fan. For example, apparently when Lego changed the grey and brown brick colors to slightly different shades this created an outrage in the adult Lego community. I suppose that unless you are very invested in Lego, this seems rather hard to comprehend and a little dispiriting.
I had thought perhaps that my own son, 14 years old and a fan of Lego, might be interested in the book. However, it is really written for adults. There are some photos, but not many, and the book really would not appeal to kids as a good part of it is devoted to the authors relationship with his wife and their attempts to start a family.
Overall, an interesting book if you are an adult fan of Lego. I would not call myself an AFOL, although I have been known to play with my kids collection (especially Mindstorms), so I am not entirely neutral about Lego.
In summary, a good book about Lego for adults, if you have some interest in Lego yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Holy cow, was this a wondrous find for me! Talk about reliving your childhood dreams of building! The premise behind this book does for the reader exactly what it did for the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mirrani
My husband loved Legos as a kid, and now is an adult Lego fan I knew about this habit of his long before we were married; I didn't mind it then, and don't now, despite how its... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Cindyash
I bought this book as well as another for my kids who are Lego fans. I ended up reading both of them when it turned out that my sons would rather build Legos than read about them. Read morePublished on January 22, 2014 by Daniel S. L.
This is only one reader's opinion...
I was a child fan of Legos. I'm a fan for my 3yo who loves them. His father loves them too. Read more
In a lot of ways I can relate to the author's experiences of discovering the addicting hobby of LEGO. Read morePublished on February 10, 2012 by willhx
This book is written with the same naive charm Louis Theroux attaches to his 'Weird Weekends' as the author wanders through the world of AFOLs (Adult Fans Of lego), buys large sets... Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by D Kincaid
Nearing his 30th birthday, three years into his marriage and dealing with infertility, freelance journalist Jonathan Bender stumbles upon a bin of LEGO from his childhood and... Read morePublished on September 2, 2011 by ChristineMM
This story is a expertly written glimpse into the world of Lego, it tells a good story while providing a history of the famous studded bricks. Read morePublished on March 19, 2011 by Mark
I agree with the reviewer who called this a "project memoir", i.e. a book that the author chose to write without knowing much about the subject first. Read morePublished on March 15, 2011 by Gavin Scott