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LEGO: A Love Story

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  453 ratings  ·  81 reviews
An adult LEGO fan's dual quest: to build with bricks and build a familyThere 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 collec ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Wiley (first published 2010)
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3.62  · 
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 ·  453 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A neat little book that awakened an infectious passion for my long lost LEGO days. Although the writing was a little clunky at times, I would still call it an unlikely page turner even if I did catch myself rolling my eyes every second chapter or so.

I couldn't help but notice the overwhelming similarity in writing style and biographical asides between Jonathan Bender and A J Jacobs of The Know It All fame.

Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The author rediscovers his love of building and becomes a full-fledged, card-carrying adult fan of Lego (AFOL). But I think that's because, like the author, I am a former Lego junkie who makes lame Star Wars jokes, went to law school, takes pictures with my wife by smushing our heads together and holding the camera at arm's length, and has a wife who refuses to play Monopoly with me because she accuses me of conspiring with her siblings (I maintain that I'm just good ...more
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
this is a memoir from the journalist jonathan bender which chronicles his life through about a year of his rediscovery of lego building. on his journey he discovers the life of afols (adult fans of lego), mocs (my own creations), and other acronyms pertinent to the wonderful building apparatus. while he is making this journey of self-discovery and meeting people in the world of lego he is also forced to go through issues at home as he and his wife kate have been trying to get pregnant. what foll ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Lego, through the eyes of a thirty something rekindled fan, fits right in with our Lego summer!
Where is the love? Bender does not for one minute convince this reader that he enjoys Lego.

After p. 220, he starts to have fun. It's not enough.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hobbies, lego, memoir
LEGO: A Love Story is about more than just the enjoyment of LEGO bricks, sets, etc. It's also a brief history of The LEGO Group, the family that started and still runs the company, and about the growing love of the author and his wife as they were trying to start a family.
It is, however, firstly, about LEGO and specifically about Adult Fans of LEGO, AFOLs (pronounced a-fall or a-foal, probably based on the pronunciation of the person that introduced one to the term). Jonathan Bender, the author
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A really great read the world needs more play time to ease itself from all the tensions in it.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Underrated, 4.25 stars, Goodreads reviewers are way too nitpicky!
Quinn Rollins
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lego, biography
My librarian sister, always looking to reinforce my geeky tendencies, recommended this book to me as it came across her desk. The e-mail said simply, “you might want to check this out.” The book it linked to was Jonathan Bender's 2010 memoir, LEGO: A Love Story. Telling the story of an Adult Fan of LEGO who emerges from his Dark Ages to reembrace the plastic bricks he once loved, the 270 page hardcover is better-written and more entertaining than I thought it would be. It's also a book that I'm ...more
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it
At the age of 40, I had never owned a Lego brick, so I am not the typical AFOL (adult fan of Lego) by any means. I have recently been drawn to the little things and have more than a passing interest in them (I believe "sudden crazy obsession" may have come from my wife's mouth once or twice. I'm intrigued by their history, their uses, building by set or by MOC ("my own creation"). And when I am obsessed with (errr... interested in...) something, I seek out books about them. I found myself starti ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 author: it makes you want to pull out your old Lego sets and start creating again!

There is more to Lego than stacking bricks together and this book has it all. The author visits where Lego bricks are made, travels to conventions and the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum, and talks with other Adult Fans of Lego (AFOLs), all while
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
In Lego: A Love Story, Jonathan Bender takes an insider's look at the phenomenon of adult fans of Lego (AFOL). Part journal, part investigative reporting, Lego: A Love Story follows Bender's return to the iconic building bricks so many of us enjoyed as children while at the same time offering a history of the product and company as well as a fascinating look at what goes on in this very dedicated community. From Lego conventions to internet groups to sites that meticulously catalog, value and re ...more
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it
Writer Jonathan Bender's journey into the world of Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs) takes him across the U.S. to conventions, a museum, LEGOland California, and the North American headquarters of LEGO itself, not to mention over to Denmark for a visit to the world headquarters where he's treated to a behind-the-scenes tour that apparently would cost us normal folks $1700. As a disclaimer, I'll start by saying that I probably enjoyed this book because of the various connections I shared with the writer ...more
L.J. Garcia
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Seeing the tower after all those years made me realize that still do love LEGO." ~ Jonathan Bender

I have never found a book that truly describes my inner kid. Jonathan Bender truly has a way of weaving a story together that brings back so many memories. All builders who continue to, or used to build with LEGO will find this book very easy to relate to. In a way, Bender's writing style takes the form of a diary where the reader accompanies him on a journey from his former self as a kid, to the L
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Another audiobook finished courtesy of my recent slew of weekends driving to Boston- and a non-fiction piece, no less! I definitely found myself zoning out throughout various parts of the book, but this is overall an informative glimpse into both the history of Lego(never Legos, the reader/listener learns quickly) and modern Lego culture. The author's personal Lego history provides many poignant anecdotes that color the story in a most pleasing manner.

Bender also weaves in his personal trials su
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-non-fic
As an adult, I've spent an inordinate amount of time staring at LEGO sets, trying to convince myself to pay the exorbitant prices attached to the more complicated sets. So I was thrilled to find this book - a much cheaper alternative to live out some of my LEGO fantasies.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't get behind this author. He's a journalist, so maybe the leap to novelist was just too much of a stretch. There was a lot of repetition in this book (seriously, we get it, you have very sweaty palms
Lauren Monroe
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book a few years ago as an admitted adult fan of LEGO. We call ourselves I learned AFOLs.

When I went to write my own women's fiction/contemporary romance novel, I thought it would be fun to put elements in the story that related to the 6-year-old child Dylan in my novel (LETTING GO: The Maryland Shores).

I made the hero in the book a fan himself. Shows a fun side to his serious character.

I loved learning the lingo of AFOLs, the convention updates, the creations Bender built and his in
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very unusual combination of autobiography, documentary, and anecdote. Personally, I found it really enjoyable, but it would be hard to recommend to someone who couldn't empathise with Johnathan's situation, i.e. a white male born in the 70's or 80's coming back to Lego in early adult life, married, and trying for (or just had) some kids.

I literally tick all those boxes, so for me, it felt like Johnathan was speaking to me in conversation, with his easy going style of writing.

That said,
Steve Li
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a story about rekindled interest in Legos by a man in his thirties. He discovers that he is not alone - there is a large community of AFOLs (adult fans of lego). AFOL generally played with Lego when they were young and then entered into the 'dark ages' where they lost interest. Later in life, they refound their joy of building, often reinspired when they bought Legos for their children. This story provides a history of Lego along with introducing the world of AFOLs. The story is best, of ...more
J L's Bibliomania
Lego: A Love Story is journalist Jonathan Bender’s account of the year he spent rekindling his childhood love of LEGO and exploring the world of Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL). Full of vignettes from several LEGO conventions and public displays, the book also touches on his personal struggles as he and his wife try to start a family.

I am having a hard time articulating my tepid response to this book. On the good side, the book moves along, I did finish it, and I skid out of at least half the non-fic
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I should disclose that I am ambivalent about LEGO. I have no real experience playing with them and I don't have a particular interest in picking up bricks and starting now, so perhaps that colored my perception of the book. I was looking forward to learning more about the company's history and the motivating factor behind AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO). And while the author did deliver this at times, it still felt like the book was more about the author's initial lackluster affection for LEGO.

The s
Glenn Whelan
Aug 28, 2011 rated it liked it
A book about LEGO? Sounds just quirky enough to make for a good read even though I am not an adult builder.

I am a sucker for business books taken from a unique angle. LEGO: A love story is not a business book at all, but you do get a look at the business structure from the perspective of an obsessed builder, or AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO).

He builds and justifies.. builds and justifies... until he is comfortable admitting that he just loves LEGO, plain and simple.

The author, Jonathan bender, spent s
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Okay--out Christmas shopping for Killer Bunnies and find this little gem in a discount book section of the game store in the local mall. For $4 it was perhaps the best buy I've ever made. What could be better than geeking out on LEGO heading into the great toy holiday? Even funnier is the fact that my kids bought me a canister of orange and clear LEGO pieces for Christmas before I ever picked up the book! Looks like the whole family was on a LEGO kick.

I have been telling my friends lately that I
Linda Petersen
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I mostly liked this book. As an adult LEGO geek, it was great to live vicariously through the author as he was able to gain access to an area of the LEGO world few of us ever actually attain. Bender reveals a lot of resources and insider information about where to find the nearly unattainable LEGO fig that you just HAVE to have, and groups for fellow adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) such as myself.

Where he falls down, however, is when he keeps mentioning how he really wishes he had a child to share al
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I recently pulled out my old Legos from childhood to play with my young daughter, so this book caught my eye. It was a light read and it grabbed my interest from the start.

The basic premise is that a journalist stumbles upon some old Legos that have been collecting dust in a closet since childhood. He delves into the world of Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL), attending conferences, getting behind the scene tours of the Lego HQ, and going to Lego Land, among other things. He finds that over the course
Sep 03, 2010 rated it liked it
The early going here was pretty tedious - it starts out reading like one of those self-indulgent "I'm 30 and I'm trying to discover myself by writing about an obsession" books... but as the book develops & we come to know Jonathan & his wife, Kate - and his obsession with Lego grows, the book becomes more involving.

I'm not sure who the audience for this will be, though - it's a little too "inside baseball" about Lego & AFOL (adult fans of Lego) to appeal to someone uninterested in th
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It might be easy to dismiss this book just from checking out the cover and dust jacket description as nothing more than fanboy garbage. Thankfully, I wasn't that quick to dismiss it. What Bender has crafted is part personal memoir, part corporate biography, and part sociological study of AFOLs (Adult Fans Of LEGO).

The end result is a fun read that does a great job of incorporating history and sociology with an unending sense of wonderment rediscovered. Totally worth the read not just for LEGO fa
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ok first off I grew up on Lego so yes I AM A FAN. That said - this book charts the rediscovery of the authors love for lego and his journey in to the world of adult lego builders and their influence and interaction with lego. It charts lego's history and the fact that unlike so many other companies both lego have been influenced by their fans as much as their fans have been by the company. I am not sure how appealing this book will be to those who have not got in to lego (either young or older) ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. I loved playing with LEGO as a kid because I have a younger brother who is now 39 and playing with those same blocks with his two young sons. My sons are now 18, 21 and 25 but reading this book makes me want to buy a set and build! I loved it when the kids were a little too young for a set and I needed to 'help' them! It's really like working on a puzzle, I think. The book goes all over the map to LEGO HQ in Denmark and even refers to the brother of an acquaintance who wor ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-goals
I learned a lot about LEGO, and specifically about the AFOL communities and their interactions with the company. I don't particularly like Bender's writing style. His transitions often felt forced and unnatural. He's also quite self-deprecating which ended up being not funny most of the time, and felt like he lacks self-confidence. Also, while I understood why he wrote his personal journey to parenthood in the book (assuming it was to humanize the book), it felt forced uncomfortably into the sto ...more
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My name is Jonathan Bender. I'm a journalist working on a book about adult fans of LEGO. I spent the last year learning about the adult fan culture and rediscovering how to build. The book, LEGO: A Love Story, will be published by John Wiley & Sons on May 10, 2010.
“I, like balloon animal hacks everywhere, can only make one animal so far. It is a LEGO version of the Island of Dr. Moreau, wherein I have brick-engineered a pig-camel, a dog-camel, and a camel with wheels. These monstrosities are quickly torn apart, and I wonder if I have some unresolved camel issues.” 2 likes
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