LEGO: A Love Story

Bender, Jonathan

Published by Wiley
ISBN 10: 0470407026 / ISBN 13: 9780470407028
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Synopsis: An adult LEGO fan's dual quest: to build with bricks and build a family

There are 62 LEGO bricks for every person in the world, and at age 30, Jonathan Bender realized that he didn't have a single one of them. While reconsidering his childhood dream of becoming a master model builder for The LEGO Group, he discovers the men and women who are skewing the averages with collections of hundreds of thousands of LEGO bricks. What is it about the ubiquitous, brightly colored toys that makes them so hard for everyone to put down?

In search of answers and adventure, Jonathan Bender sets out to explore the quirky world of adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) while becoming a builder himself. As he participates in challenges at fan conventions, searches for the largest private collection in the United States, and visits LEGO headquarters (where he was allowed into the top secret set vault), he finds his LEGO journey twinned with a second creative endeavor—to have a child. His two worlds intertwine as he awaits the outcome: Will he win a build competition or bring a new fan of LEGO into the world? Like every really good love story, this one has surprises—and a happy ending.

  • Explores the world of adult fans of LEGO, from rediscovering the childhood joys of building with LEGO to evaluating LEGO's place in culture and art
  • Takes an inside look at LEGO conventions, community taboos, and build challenges and goes behind-the-scenes at LEGO headquarters and LEGOLAND
  • Tells a warm and personal story about the attempt to build with LEGO and build a family

Whether you're an avid LEGO freak or a onetime fan who now shares LEGO bricks with your children, this book will appeal to the inner builder in you and reignite a love for all things LEGO.

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 closet—Bender 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 wife—the furniture builder in their household—to 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 York–based 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.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: LEGO: A Love Story
Publisher: Wiley
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good

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