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LEGO: A Love Story | [Jonathan Bender]

LEGO: A Love Story

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?
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Audible Editor Reviews

Jonathan Bender’s memoir, LEGO: A Love Story, begins with Bender’s memory of the biggest LEGO structure he ever built: a giant reconstruction of the Sears Tower that he worked on with his dad when he was 12. From there, it opens up the world of LEGO to fans of all ages, with detailed reporting on everything from discontinued colors and pieces to the proper way to pluralize the toy (it’s LEGO bricks, never LEGOs) as Bender joins the world of Adult Fans of LEGO — AFOLs — and finds a way to bring together his childhood love of the toy and his grown-up life (which includes Bender and his wife’s year-long quest to have a baby). Narrator Jeremy Gage may not have the tone and style you’d expect from Bender, but his reading targets all the emotional highs and lows of Bender’s journey.

Like most pre-teen LEGO fans, Bender put away his building bricks as he grew up — entering a period that lifelong LEGO fans refer to as “The Dark Ages” — and didn’t rediscover his love for the toys until his 30th birthday. That’s when he became an AFOL — and spent the next year traveling to conventions, finding the world’s largest LEGO models, visiting the company’s headquarters in Denmark, and meeting the most successful collectors in the world.

Gage doesn’t quite sound the way you’d imagine Bender — a self described 30-year-old “Jewish kid from Fairfield”: his voice is a little too sophisticated and mature, and you’re never quite sure if he’s in on the jokes and pop culture references in the text — but he does come through with a spot-on interpretation of Bender’s excitement and nostalgia. Whether Bender is getting overexcited by the storage options for his new bricks, facing down challengers at a blind build, or sharing his love for LEGO with his in-laws on Christmas morning, Gage’s voice hits the right notes of sentimentality and emotion. And the unsurprising — but very sweet — ending, which finds Bender considering a LEGO build with his own child, shows just how neatly the bricks can fit into your life — no matter how old you are. —Blythe Copeland

Publisher's Summary

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. The book:

  • 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.

©2010 Jonathan Bender (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Ah, the tender story of a man and his plastic bricks.... Bender explores not just the AFOL subculture, with its superstars and wannabes and rivalries, but also describes his own rediscovery of a childhood toy and the impact it has had on his life.... If you wanted to call the book a paean to LEGO, you wouldn't be far wrong, but don't think the audience for this utterly delightful work is limited to, well, LEGO freaks." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (64 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Stephen Sarasota, FL, United States 02-09-11
    Stephen Sarasota, FL, United States 02-09-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    786
    ratings
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    239
    123
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    "For Adult Fans of Lego"

    This is a story about rekindled interest in Legos by a man in his thirties. He discovers that he is not alone that there is a large community of AFOLs (adult fans of lego). AFOL generally played with Lego when they were young and then entered the 'dark ages' where they lost interest and then refound their joy of building. This story provides a history of Lego along with introducing the world of AFOLs. The story is best, of course, if you have some experience with Lego or if you want to share the enjoyment of someone who has discovered a hobby that brings some happiness into life.

    It describes what goes on at Lego conventions, Lego headquarters in Denmark and the interaction between master builders and the Lego company.

    This is a fun read about a fun hobby...

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Phoenix, AZ, United States 07-05-12
    Jason Phoenix, AZ, United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Must-Have for AFOLs - Adult Fans Of LEGO!"
    What made the experience of listening to LEGO the most enjoyable?

    It was comforting to know that it's a universal truth for people that were fans of LEGO as kids will go through a "Dark Ages" time where we try to turn into adults, and so we set LEGO aside for a time, but invariably get back to the simple pleasure of putting plastic bricks together. It was fun to listen to Johnathan go through his journey to re-discover LEGO as an adult.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Hickory, NC, United States 03-14-11
    Matthew Hickory, NC, United States 03-14-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Be careful if you already like Lego"

    This book has made me realize I have a deeper passion for Lego than I knew. I loved hearing about the history and culture of Lego. I always knew there were probably adult Lego fans out there. Now I know were to find them. Since reading this book, I have obsessively pored over Lego sights and to the delight of son I have bought way more Lego than my wife thinks sane!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. McGee North Carolina 01-13-13
    J. McGee North Carolina 01-13-13 Member Since 2008

    meandtheboys

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    "AFOLs Unite!"
    Would you listen to LEGO again? Why?

    If I do read this book again, it will likely be in book form to be better able to note the places and people the author references. As an adult fan of Lego, approaching Lego for the first time as an adult, I, like the author, am greatly interested in developing my skills as a creative builder. The author references many "famous" Lego builders and Lego museums and shows that I would like to be able to more readily reference.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The moment when the author and his father sit down and build together as adults was very touching. I do hope that after my own children get past their dark age with Lego that we too can sit down, as friends and fellow builders, and create together.


    Any additional comments?

    If you have an Adult Fan Of Lego (AFOL) in your house and want to better understand him/her, this is a book for you. If you are a new AFOL and want to hear more about the history of the product and learn more about builders, shows, museums and Lego Corporation, this is a great reference book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Earlwood, Australia 07-17-11
    Suzanne Earlwood, Australia 07-17-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unfortunately Dull"

    I really wanted to like this book but I couldn't finish it. The narrator was dull and uninspiring. I would probably get the actual book and read it because the subject matter was interesting. Although it has sparked an interest in Lego again.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results
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  • Amazon Customer
    London
    2/28/11
    Overall
    "If you liked Lego you'll LOVE this"

    I'm about an hour yet to go on the Lego Love Story so not technically finished. But wanted to write my review now, seeing as this book's the current listen of the week and what better way to get folks to see it and hopefully download as I've been telling all of my friends about it!. Plus, I'm not expecting some major plot twist before the end when the space monkeys come down and kill them all. It's only a Lego love story....

    With the narration, for me Lego is very much a UK/European product and to me doesn't quite fit with the US narrator. I did think if it had been a Danish or UK voice, then would have given it a nice Louis Theroux type docu-commentary tone...especially when talking about the somewhat obsessed world of adult lego fans. But that said, there's nothing wrong with the actual narrator, he does bring it to life well. Plus its the story of one man rediscovering his love of Lego, and he is American after all.

    I guess you need to have been a Lego fan to enjoy this fully. For me, a child of the 80's, I had those Lego sets, some of which are rather fascinatingly changing hands for thousands now.

    Loving learning about the world of the AFOL (adult fan of Lego) and to be honest, its making me want to explore in my parents' attic and see what Lego treasures are up there.

    Which to meet summarises the appeal of this download, a warm, familiar trip back to happy childhood memories...sitting on the living room carpet, bricks scattered everywhere, and an idea for a spaceship/castle/car slowly coming forming into reality.

    And even if you'd never been a Lego fan when a child, download this and maybe you could be one now...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    United Kingdom
    11/17/12
    Overall
    "A fantastic insight into the life of an AFOL"

    Only 3/4 through this book but I am loving it. Brilliantly narrated with fun insightful stories from someone who loves Lego. Can't recommend it high enough for anyone with a brick fix.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Dundee, United Kingdom
    4/5/11
    Overall
    "How to become an AFOL"

    This is a quirky book that is much better than you might think. It's well researched as a factual book and the history of Lego the company is very interesting. The real story though is how the author gets caught up in the world of adult lego and how much he takes you with him. I'd love to know how many listeners go and buy Lego afterwards!

    The narration style fits the story and doesn't get in the way.

    Overall an excellent departure from the usual crime and thriller category we usually listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

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