Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not alter the opinions of this review in any way.
Synopsis (From NetGalley):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.
Review:The story of A Robot In The Garden, by Deborah Install, is set in England, in a time where having androids as servants is commonplace. Robots are so old-fashioned that when Ben finds one in his garden, his wife is all for throwing it in the trash. But Ben sees something in the robot that calls to him. Why did it show up on his doorstep? Who does it belong to? What is it's purpose? These questions really also apply to Ben as he is lost and depressed since the death of his parents three years ago. So begins a wonderful road-trip novel that takes Ben and Tang (the name of his robot) on a quest to find it's maker.
I found this book to be charming and funny in only the way British humor can. With a subtly that will sometimes make you scratch your head, this book also addresses racism (robotism?), traditional marriage roles, and modern relationships.
What I liked:
Ben's wife, at first seems like a class A b#%tch. I hated her at first. But there are changes and growth to her character that I really loved.
Ben seems to be socially inept, and susceptible to worrying about what others think of him. He buys into the narrative that he can't do anything right. But as the book progresses, he learns to understand how to care for (and about) others. This gives him confidence and helps him tackle other parts of his life that have gone awry. I loved Ben's growth and (later) his strength.
I love a good road trip, and this one provided several wonderful interactions with colorful locals, misunderstandings, hookups, and revelations. This part of the book was so much fun!
What I didn't like:
Stereotypes:Okay, I may be a bit sensitive because of my nationality, but I thought the author made Americans to be stereotypical loud, obnoxious morons. I suppose that is what most Europeans think when they picture Americans, but I thought the author missed an opportunity to expand on her theme of inclusiveness and acceptance. This was only a minor flaw in this book.
If you want to read a fun, imaginative road trip book, I think you will really enjoy A Robot In The Garden.
Release Date: May 1st, 2016
Recommendation: For those who love British humor, this will be a fun book to read.