The Big Game of Everything
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The Big Game of Everything

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by Chris Lynch

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The Big Game of Everything

Chapter One

D'ya Love Me?

You have to love your family. You do, even if you don't, right? You don't have to agree with them or appreciate them or go to concerts with them or even understand them, but you have to love them. It's a rule, and it's the kind of rule you don't break unless you're some kind of


The Big Game of Everything

Chapter One

D'ya Love Me?

You have to love your family. You do, even if you don't, right? You don't have to agree with them or appreciate them or go to concerts with them or even understand them, but you have to love them. It's a rule, and it's the kind of rule you don't break unless you're some kind of animal.

I do love my brother, but I don't know that I would if I were not required to. We're not the same. It can happen in a family. Even though you get all the same genetic stuff, and you get raised in the same setup, you can wind up seeing and feeling things a whole different way from the guy just one bed over. It's kind of crazy, when you think about it, but it's nature's way. The payback, I guess, is that while you have to love your family, your family has to love you too, no matter what.

"Ya? Who says?"

The Big Game of Everything. Copyright © by Chris Lynch. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Jock is convinced that he is the only sane member of his family, but he is comforted by the fact that, crazy or not, you gotta love your family and they have to love you. Jock and his brother are excited by the possibilities that the summer may hold as they begin their regular summer jobs at their grandfather's eclectic golf course. Conflicts arise because of local bullies and their grandfather's two old friends. The retired friends are more successful than the boy's grandfather, and they constantly seek to gain more in "the big game of everything," a daily power struggle for material possessions, relationships, and status. As his grandfather's health fails and roles shift, Jock finds a way to win the game on his own terms. This Printz Honor-winning author offers up another touching and offbeat novel full of delightfully skewed humor. Despite their distinctly over-the-top nature, the characters ring true and there are moments that are alternately tender and hilarious. Readers will enjoy meeting Jock's eccentric but memorable family. This valuable purchase would generate a lively discussion in a book group or class read-aloud. Thoughtful readers will likely consider their place-and evaluate their need to participate-in "the big game of everything" in their own lives. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
Jock is looking forward to two blissful summer months helping out at his grandfather's 13-hole golf complex, but his oddball family members have plans of their own. Jock's devilish younger brother Egon, id to Jock's superego, just wants to get rich; his sister Meredith just wants to make out with her boyfriend; his parents are sweet but generally clueless hippies; and his Grampus, despite the golf complex, isn't happy with what he has. Grampus feels he's losing at life, "the Big Game of Everything," because he's not ostentatiously rich like his obnoxious old friends, who show up and joyfully wreak havoc. Jock can't understand why Grampus is so hung up on the idea of winning when to his mind the man already has it all, but in the end his wacky but loving family manages to make it all right. More episodic than plot-driven, this rollicking tale about some true eccentrics features memorable characters and relationships: between long-suffering Jock and his tormenter Egon, in particular, and between Jock and his Grampus. It's an affirmation of the value of family, despite their differences, and the dialog is often a delight. This offbeat story will appeal to anyone with a funny bone. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal

Gr 7-10

Introspective and curious, Jock is considering questions many people never get around to puzzling out: What is the true measure of success? Is it money? Or, is it somehow achievable merely by defining one's own vision of happiness and making it happen? While most young adults' values are defined by friends and family, Jock's moral compass lacks an obvious pole to fix upon. His hippieish parents happily operate a barbershop with a backward business plan based on convincing would-be patrons to let their hair grow, and his younger brother brazenly takes materialistic self-interest, snarkiness, and sloth to laughable heights. Jock's main challenge in this crash course in self-discovery lies in figuring out if the employer he idolizes, the owner of the underutilized golf complex on which he works-and who also happens to be his grandfather-is a worthy role model or a tortured train in the midst of derailment. Unlike Jock's parents, Grampus claims to believe in entrepreneurial ambition. He pursues those goals in idiosyncratic fashion, running and expanding his 13-hole golf course on his own terms, often shoeless and shirtless-and sometimes in a kilt. Jock begins to wonder if his grandfather's a winner, a loser, or something in between-until a series of unexpected visits and a mild stroke force the answer. The Big Game of Everything is a funny and thoughtful novel that considers the true nature of class, happiness, and success through the eyes of a teenage boy.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Onion Jock's grandfather made a fortune inventing a golf-course-cleaning contraption and now runs his own 13-hole course, his barber father rebels against the system by discouraging haircuts and his brother is a finance-obsessed pugilist. When well-monied individuals from Grampus's past arrive, Jock realizes that his odd family relationships are more twisted than he thought. With little more than a brogue pronunciation as a clue, readers are left to guess at Jock's geographical location, which creates a rarely bridged emotional gap. Jock's narrative disposition is reminiscent of Christopher from Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (2003), but Jock's own behavioral discrepancies have no apparent underlying causes. Moments of genuine humor shine, but most of the tale's message-of the burden of possessions-seems better suited for a younger audience than the one it apparently aims for. Andi Watson's Clubbing (2007) blends oddball humor and golf much more successfully. This uneven mixture of relationships and sports is a bogey for the usually reliable Lynch. (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Lynch is a National Book Award finalist and the author of many highly acclaimed books for young adults, including The Big Game of Everything, Who the Man, and the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Freewill; Iceman, Shadow boxer, Gold Dust, and Slot Machine, all ALA Best Books for Young Adults; and Extreme Elvin. He also mentors aspiring writers and teaches in the creative writing program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Big Game of Everything 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The big game of everything thing by Chris Lynch is excellent book which is very enjoyable to read. Union Jack the main character in book, also known as Jock is just looking forward for a great summer time in his grampus golf complex. But his demon brother Egon, who always makes his summer miserable, and all Egon cares about is his obsession of money. And grampus is very ambitious man with a lot of dreams even in his old age. Jock parents Leonard and Peach are nice, crazy, and clueless people who run a hair salon. Jock’s sister Meredith also works at grampus golf complex in the front desk, and she has a boyfriend Carlo who is very nice. With all these problems, could he have a great summer?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jock has lined up the perfect summer job working at his grandfather's golf course. He figures work will probably be sporadic and he looks forward to racing around the greens in one of the golf carts from Grampus's mighty fleet. But sure enough, just like in golf, he slices.

It turns out he and his bumbling, antagonistic, younger brother, Egon, are the only caretakers Grampus has hired for the summer. And the mighty fleet turns out to be only two golf carts, and Grampus uses one of them for his dates with the lesson of the week. Like Jock, Grampus embraces the sun and heat, and somehow it's always Jock, not Egon, who gets the chore of rubbing sunscreen onto Grampus's back so he can work wearing only a kilt, creating the 13th hole of the course with his enormous digger.

Is this crazy loon the same grandfather Jock has always admired? Is his life still the life Jock envies and yearns for?

When two old friends of Grampus' show up, flashing their bling and offering to purchase his cherished snooker table, Jock begins to see a side of Grampus that he's never seen before. Leonard, Jock's flakey barbershop dad, who tries to convince people not to cut their hair; Peaches, his psychic, palm-reading mother; and even Grammus, Jock's rich and independent grandmother, surprise Jock as they come together to help Grampus save his golf course.

Jock finds out that yes, life's about playing the big game of everything, but more than that, life is about family.

In THE BIG GAME OF EVERYTHING, Chris Lynch finds humor in the mundane, and turns the ordinary into the unexpected. This novel is great for a lazy afternoon when what you want most is a quiet, calming read, with laugher sprinkled throughout.