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LEGO: A Love Story [Hardcover]

Jonathan Bender
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Product Description

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

From the Back Cover

There are 62 Lego bricks for every man, woman, and child in the world. At the age of 30, Jonathan Bender realized that he didn't have a single one of them.

Reconnecting with his childhood dream of becoming a master model builder, Bender sets out to explore the quirky world of adult fans of LEGO (AFOLs) while becoming a builder himself. And that begins with learning how LEGO has morphed over seven decades from a tiny European toy maker into a pop-culture juggernaut that is pushing the definition of art and leading to advances in robotics. As he participates in challenges at fan conventions, searches for the largest private collection in the United States, and explores LEGO headquarters in Denmark, Bender finds his LEGO journey paired with a second creative endeavor—having a child. His two worlds intertwine in his discovery: will he win a build competition or bring a new fan of LEGO into the world?

Whether you're an avid LEGO freak or a onetime fan who now enjoys LEGO bricks with your children, this book will appeal to your inner builder and reignite a love for all things LEGO. Fans everywhere will recognize and relate to the intensity of emotion, dedication, and community that surrounds these simple plastic bricks.

About the Author

Jonathan Bender is a freelance features writer; his work has appeared in Time Out New York, Women's Health,,, and the Kansas City Star. This is his first book. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife, Kate, and has significantly more than the 62 LEGO bricks that exist for every man, woman, and child in the world today.
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