Book Review

Review: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

a robot in the garden by deborah installPublished: June 30 2015

Number of pages: 279

Format: paperback

Publisher: Transworld Publishers UK

Genre: contemporary, scifi, romance, friendship

Audience: older adults

Rating: 3/5 owl hoots

Find it on Goodreads | Chapters Indigo


Ben Chambers finds a robot in the garden but instead of throwing it out like his wife Amy repeatedly suggests, he decides to keep it. Ben is unemployed, doesn’t want children and has another reason to stay secluded in his study after keeping the robot. But when Amy walks out Ben realizes that he has alienated the people in his life for too long and has only one friend left.

My Review: 

This was a charming story about a man trying to redeem himself and his marriage after discovering a rusty old robot in his garden. He names the robot Tang and Ben finds a way to heal the robot, only to realize that in the end of their journey, he healed himself.

Ben Chambers inherited his parent’s house and he and his wife Amy have got along well. Ben refuses to find a job and usually alienates himself from his friends and family, but learns to live a quiet yet secluded lifestyle. But when Ben finds a robot and decides to take it in, Amy decides that they are done. What started out as a journey to repair Tang begins an unexpected friendship between man and robot and a second chance to heal his marriage. The story began as a road trip as Tang and Ben travel from point A to point B to find his creator and fix him. As they meet new people and places, Tang and Ben develop a surprising bond as the pair learn more about each other and about love and friendship.

I love seeing Ben treating Tang as a human being and not some metal scrap found in his back yard. The setting takes place somewhere in the future where people use androids as servants. Serving people is their only function which is why people don’t consider their feelings and well-being. But Ben doesn’t treat Tang like that at all; instead he takes care of him and teaches him about things that Tang didn’t know as a robot. Ben treats Tang with respect and even goes out of his way to stand up for the little guy in front of androids who make fun of him for being so old and rusty. Apparently they don’t make robots like they used to, instead androids are the new thing as they are more intelligent and multifunctional. Tang behaves like a child always questioning things that are happening around him, and depending on Ben to look after him (unexpectedly though he learns to watch out for Ben too). During the trip Ben wonders if it’s too late to fix his marriage until Tang teaches him that it’s never too late for a second chance; he really is a smart and thoughtful robot despite his child-like curiosity.

From the beginning, it took awhile to appreciate the story since I felt like I was along for the ride with Tang and Ben as they travel across the world where nothing exciting happens in-between. But in the end, I enjoyed the story as the friendship between them is really cute and grows to a very special bond. If you are looking for a cozy read, then I recommend this book as it really warms your heart.


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