Oh, do you ever get that tingly little feeling after a few pages of a new book? And realize you've just re prioritized your to-do list so you can keep reading?
Deborah Install's debut novel A Robot in the Garden did just that!
Sometime in the near future in England, androids are an accepted part of everyday life, doing the cooking or gardening - even driving. They're high functioning, replacing the original robots.
Ben Chamber's wife Amy would like an android to help around the house (According to her, Ben does very little to help, well, very little anything) One morning though... "There's a robot in the garden" my wife informed me.
Ben is fascinated by the little robot - he's battered and worn and wherever could he have come from? He decides to keep him. But Amy has decided not to keep Ben - the marriage is done and she moves out. "But one thing she had said hurt more than anything else. 'He's never actually achieved anything.' She was right. I hadn't. It was about time I did."
And so Ben decides to save Tang, the broken robot. He will find his owner and get him fixed!
Tang and Ben set off on a journey that will hopefully heal Tang - and without him noticing - Ben as well. A Robot in the Garden houses quirky characters, odd situations, adventures and a pair of lead characters that you can't help but cheer for, between its pages. Ben is a perennial nice guy, who has just lost his way for a bit. And, as funny as it sounds, Tang has quite the personality, despite his limited vocabulary and boxy body.
I honestly laughed out loud so many times at Tang's antics. Tang was actually inspired by Install's own young son. As one character remarks "He's not so very different from a child if you ask me." Ben too is quite funny, albeit unintentionally sometimes.
I'm not going to spoil the book for you by revealing any more. Suffice it to say that the road trip to fix Tang is one you want to take.
A Robot in the Garden was funny, heartbreaking, heartwarming and so very, very good. How else could I describe The Robot in the Garden? Well, if you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - cross that with Wall-E and you'll have an idea. Absolutely, positively recommended!
Read an excerpt of Robot in the Garden.
"Deborah Install has been writing fiction since childhood, submitting her first book to a publisher at the age of 8. Her love of writing persisted, leading to a number of jobs, including web journalism and her most recent role as copywriter at a design and marketing agency. She lives in Birmingham, UK, with her husband, toddler and affectionate but imperious cat." You can connect with Deborah on Twitter.