Book Review: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

May 11, 2015 Book review 21 ★★★★

From the second this book dropped through my letterbox, I couldn’t wait to get stuck.  I loved the theme of a Robot just showing up in your garden and when the blurb compared it to Paddington Bear, I just knew it could be a winner for me.  And it was!

Book Review: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah InstallA Robot In The Garden by Deborah Install
Published by Transworld on April 23rd 2015
Genres: Humorous, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Received from Publisher
Buy on Amazon

'An unusual and delightful book. A robot to remember' ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH Warm-hearted fable of a stay-at-home husband who learns an important lesson in life when an unusual creature enters his life. With all the charm and humour of THE ROSIE PROJECT and ABOUT A BOY.

A story of the greatest friendship ever assembled.

Ben Chambers wakes up to find something rusty and lost underneath the willow tree in his garden. Refusing to throw it on the skip as his wife Amy advises, he takes it home.

First Line of A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install:

‘There’s a robot in the garden,’ my wife Amy, informed me.

 My Thoughts on A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install:

All the way though this book I was smiling with amusement.  Tang, the home-made robot, who materialised one morning in Ben and Amy’s garden is the cutest robot ever.  I want this book to be a movie and I want to buy ALL the Tang merchandise.

Amy and Ben are going through a rough patch in their marriage and neither of them is listening to what the other person wants or feels.  And neither comes across as particularly nice.  Amy is snappy and business focused and Ben is wandering aimlessly through his life.  So when Tang makes his unexpected appearance, it causes lots of changes in both their lives.

And I absolutely fell head over heels in love with Tang.  He is stubborn, inclined to tantrums when he doesn’t get his own way and is endearingly old-fashioned and shabby.  His favourite song is ‘Born to be Wild’ which is such a paradox as he should be manufactured to obey orders.  But Tang doesn’t do orders or the expected;  instead he is his own robot.  And this stubborn, quirky little guy is charming even when he is being a brat!

The book is set in the near future and the world seems very familiar.  One of the few differences is that lots of households have androids to do chores for them.  But Tang is a robot and there is a lot made of the differences between robots and androids.  I’m not at all familiar with the science aspect of this and the book doesn’t overly delve into this either.  Instead it’s a book about relationships, how different sections of society can be labelled and put in a box which turns out to be a very thought-provoking theme.

I kind of hated Amy at the start of the book as what we saw of her was just through Ben’s eyes.  Later on though I got to appreciate her side of things and it made me want this little family to pull through.  And yes Amy, Ben and Tang are very much a family even though one of them is a robot.  And I know people talk a lot about book boyfriends but I’ve now decided that Tang is my book child and I’m going to be fiercely protective over him!

Overall I can sum this up in one word; ADORABLE!


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install?

I’d highly recommend this to you if you like the idea of a quirky robot main character and book that explodes with cuteness and humour.  And it doesn’t have a childish feel to it as it deals with complex relationships and really does make you think about AI.


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21 Responses to “Book Review: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install”

    • trish

      I would have dismissed it too as not for me! And funny enough I got sent the review copy by mistake, it was meant for another blog for a blog tour! But it was a happy mistake all round as I loved it.

  1. Greg

    This sound like a good one, and I love that first line. So matter of fact- I’ll bet this is a really fun book. I’ll have to look for it.
    Greg recently posted…Sunday Post #90

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