Book Review: A Robot in the Garden

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
Published on May 1, 2016.

Goodreads Summary:
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 mingled with the heart-swelling warmth of PADDINGTON BEAR MOVIE.

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.

My Review:
I’m not really sure what to think about this book. It takes place in the near future when android servants are the norm. Ben finds a robot in his backyard, and despite his wife’s annoyance, he’s determined to help find someone who can fix it. His wife, Amy, leaves him because he’s not been the best husband – he’s not working, but yet he cannot find the time to help out around the house. He and Tang, the robot, embark on a trip around the world to find someone who can repair Tang’s broken coolant cylinder.

I read a review on Goodreads that compared this book to the movie Short Circuit, and that’s fairly accurate. The whole time I was reading it I was trying to determine who the target audience was because it definitely wasn’t me. I think I was drawn to the comparison with The Rosie Project, but it’s not really a fair comparison because Ben has a completely healthy mind, although he is still grieving the death of his parents and his failure to amount to anything while they were alive.

Tang is cute. He’s very much his own person, unlike the Androids in the story. I kept thinking that middle school boys would enjoy him most, but the relationship portion of the plot would make this an entirely inappropriate book for that age group.

Ben grows up a lot over the course of the book, and I was liking him more by the end. He’s the narrator of the book, and I had a hard time believing I was reading the thoughts of a 30-year old man until maybe the last 1/3 of the book.

Overall, this story is strange and the journey is winding as the go from England to California to Texas to Micronesia and back to England. I just couldn’t really relate to any of the characters. Tang is very child-like, but even that didn’t really hold my interest. Had I not gotten this for review, I may have stopped reading it.

My Rating: 2 Stars
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