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A Robot in the Garden

(A Robot in the… #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,989 ratings  ·  521 reviews
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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 23rd 2015 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2015)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,989 ratings  ·  521 reviews

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Utterly charming and adorable!!

Okay, now that I have let that out...
"There's a robot in the garden," my wife informed me.

And so it begins.

Ben and Amy are experiencing some marital problems, so when Tang shows up at their doorstep (actually their back garden) and Ben decides to take him on a trip to find its creator, things might not go as planned.

Ofcourse, going on a trip with and old fashioned robot instead of an android which is more common those days, is an invitation for hilarious mishap
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I have a huge soft spot for robots, and have done since I was very young, so I was really looking forward to this book, and it didn’t disappoint.

What would you do if a rickety old robot appeared in your garden, said very little and just stared at the horses in the distance? Would you ignore it, throw it away, or invite it into your house?

Ben decides to try and help the robot, despite his wife, Amy wanting him to get ride of it. What follows is Ben going on an adventure with 'Tang' the robot in a
Jeannette Nikolova
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

"Now, I have to admit that the idea of traveling across the desert in a Dodge Charger with a retro robot and a radioactive sausage dog is not something I would have imagined myself doing. But life takes us in peculiar directions sometimes, and on those occasions the only thing to do is give it a high-five and roll with it. 

That is basically a summary of both the events and the mood of the book.

A Robot In The Garden is an extremely adorable and end
Sarah Churchill
So. Adorable.

A guy called Ben is living with his wife Amy in a nice big house left to him by his parents. Amy is a barrister, and they're living comfortably despite Ben's lack of a job. He doesn't think he needs one, or in fact need to do much of anything. His wife, of course, disagrees.

So their marriage is already on the rocks when little Tang appears. He's a dilapidated robot that looks out of place in this world of high-end androids, but Ben sees something special in him and takes him on an
I've had a mild robot obsession since reading Mason Johnson's Sad Robot Stories two years ago. Surely that's what led me to enter this giveaway, even though I had a nagging feeling that the book would prove to be a bit too sentimental for my tastes. And I was right - it was corny, and oversweet, even a tad syrupy at times.
But, hey - it starred a ROBOT!


A recalcitrant, easily-bored robot who's apparently incontinent.

"Where were you before you got here?"

Mercifully, it seemed Tang had gotten th
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben is seemingly coasting through life, much to the disgust of long suffering wife. As the sole breadwinner in the house, Amy is frustrated with her husband who is a failed Veterinarian and is giving up on the responsibilities of life. The final straw will be when a battered robot shows up in the couple's backyard.

Ben is intrigued by the damaged robot who he calls Tang, but Amy is not and is the cue for her to walk out on him. With growing affection for the little-battered talking machine, Ben w
The Captain
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! Who doesn’t like robots? I have no idea where I first heard about this one but I am so glad that I finally took the time to read it. This is not yer typical robot story but it is completely worthwhile and fabulous.

This story follows Ben who is living at home with no job, ambition, or hobby. He is just floating along and passively watching his marriage unravel at the seams. He is woken one morning by his wife, Amy, who informs him that there is a robot sitting under a tree i
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Cute book. Disney kids movie cute. Too cute for me.

In a near future populated with sleek service androids, Ben Chambers finds Tang, a boxy seemingly antiquated robot sitting in his garden. The robot turns out to be radically sentient, but with the knowledge and personality of a toddler. Think Wall-E. It is leaking fluid it needs to survive. The lazy, befuddled and failure at most everything Ben decides to find the robot’s owner so he can be repaired. And their adventure begins!

The saccharine lev
Actual rating 3.5

It was half past seven in the morning when the robot entered our lives.
Ben and Amy never wanted kids. They’d discussed the upsides of not having them, such as never having to stress over Halloween costumes, and decided that was a very good reason for not starting a family. They had discussed getting a robot, but this wasn’t what they had in mind.
My new backpack arrived the next day, smelling of warehouse and containing an excessive amount of little packets of silica gel. As fa
Beautiful, charming, sweet, heart-warming, it made me smile, it made me teary-eyed and I just loved it. It's a beautifully written story of self-discovery, growing-up, love and friendship. The relationship between Ben and Tang is just lovely. Ben is a great main character and Tang an even greater companion. You must read that book. It's just stunning! ...more
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on Between My Lines

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!

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
J.A. Ironside
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In 2013, I was at the Festival of Writing in York (UK) run by the Writer's Workshop. During the Saturday night live competition, I heard Deborah Install read from her as yet unpublished, unbought novel. It came as a huge relief to find out that she had found an agent and then a publisher as I was dying to know what happened next. I've never met Deborah so simply demanding to read the rest of the novel seemed a bit presumptuous.(In case you're wondering, yes it did get my vote in that competition ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways, futuristic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
GinaRose Cristello
I was lucky enough to spend a fabulous weekend soaking up this fresh story! I was completely transported. Quirky and Smart- think The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe. Install has created a crazily loveable new being in Tang the Robot.. I love how she took the way a child can think (and scheme) and futurized it, by applying it to AI. Readers are given just enough description of characters and scenes to allow our ima ...more
Leslie Ann
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-to-5-stars
I absolutely loved this book. I must confess that I have a fondness for robot stories , so that may slant my feelings on this book. I fell in love with the characters Ben and Tang. When a book makes me cry with joy and laugh out loud it has to be great. I highly recommend this book.
Kady Monroe
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: robots
I really enjoyed this book. It's a story of friendship, hope and love.
And it's funny :)
The story revolves around the main character, Ben, who finds what seems to be, a homemade robot in his garden. The Robot's name is Tang, and he is a bit broken. He's also cute and has quite a personality.
Ben has recently been drifting through life aimlessly, and finding Tang's owner/maker, who will hopefully be able to fix the little guy, gives him a purpose. The book is the story of their journey together a
Thea Nikolic
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If you want a feel good novel about an unlikely friendship, a globe trotting adventure, eye opening self discovery and a wonderful robot named Tang, then this book will enchant you, make you laugh and you will have a smile on your heave the entire time.
10 out of 5 stars! Absolutely adored this book!
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found it fairly slow in the beginning although the second half more than made up for it.
Luanne Ollivier
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Samuel Tyler
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
If I looked out into the garden and saw a piece of machinery sitting there, it is more likely to be an old washing machine than a robot, but a story about me travelling the world with an abandoned piece of white goods does not quite have the same appeal. Deborah Install’s ‘A Robot in The Garden’ is sort of an ‘Eat, Pray, Robot’; a coming of age for a character who should already have grown up. This character is Ben, a man in a failing relationship who comes across Tang, a robot who seems a littl ...more
Karen Mace
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paperbacks
I won this book via Twitter in a Fathers' Day competition so it was only fair that my Dad read it first - a little different from his normal Dick FRancis/Jeffrey Archer reads but his response was positive so i couldnt wait to read it too!!

And what a story! The beautiful cover had me hooked and from the moment that Ben finds a robot sitting under a tree in his back garden, the story will have you hooked too!!

Ben is living at his parents house with his girlfriend Amy, and is still coming to terms
Jess Manley
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
VERY cute and warms your heart. Once you get going, it's hard to put down because you're always wondering if the two friends will make it to wherever they need to be.

I wouldn't be surprised if Install announced that the story was based on real-life prejudices (race, physical and mental ability, if you have the latest iPhone model, etc.) that make people stare and judge. A lot of what I read made me reflect on what we see everyday and on how I treat others... Makes you think !
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such a lovely book. It is overall charming and cosy and beautiful and I adored it. It tells the story of Ben, who finds a robot in his garden. Even though his wife wants to get rid of the thing, Ben decides to find the robot's owner and get him fixed. What follows is a trip around the world, and Ben and Tang (the robot) developing a great friendship on their hilarious adventures.

Now, I have to admit that the idea of travelling across the desert in a Dodge Charger with a retro robot and a
Gina Morphy
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lovely novel about an endearing little robot and the human who claims him as his own. Ben and Tang make a funny pair and their trip across the world was filled with amusing anecdotes and epiphanies.
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
A beautiful novel. So excited for my buddy read post with Dani @ Perspective of a Writer!

Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Posted in full

“I think I’m in love with a robot” are words I can’t say I ever expected to be uttering but how can you read A Robot in the Garden and not feel the same?! This book is one of the craziest, sweetest, most charming and entertaining books I’ve ever read and I loved every second of it. I can honestly say I’ve not read anything like this before. It’s sci-fi in the loosest sense, set in an age where it is not that surprising to come across a robo
So I really loved this book when it was focusing on sweet robot child antics. Tang reads so much like a real toddler: curious, temperamental, and with so much joy for things both great and small. His relationship with Ben is absolutely heart-warming, especially as he grows to understand Tang.

Which makes it all the worse that the book’s whole reaction to the systematic oppression of his kind is “well we don’t need to go wild and throw a revolution or give them rights or anything, we treat OUR rob
Katy Noyes
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Warm, winning and surely impossible to dislike.

Ben and Amy's marriage is already under strain, but finding a robot in the garden one day, and taking it in, Ben finds it the final straw for his wife. Tang is soon an integral part of the house, while Amy can't take it and leaves. Confused and angry, Ben puts his efforts into Tang as he notices that the old-fashioned and beat-up little model is in need of urgent repair. Using clues that take him from one location to another, the two end up going on
David Reviews
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Funny & Touching - I Want a Robot in My Garden…

Ha-ha! Some parts of this story had me laughing out loud, while other parts were quite sad and touching. Yes we are talking about a robot, but Deborah Install has written such a delightful story we are soon charmed by a little robot called Tang.

Ben wakes one morning to be told by his wife Amy that there is a robot in the Garden. Ben investigates and so begins a truly heart-warming friendship. Jobless Ben’s new found fascination with his robot is the
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vine
You would have to be hard of heart not to fall in love with Tang, the robot that Ben finds in his garden, and it is the relationship between Ben and Tang that is at the heart of this book. The amazing road trip they embark on after Ben's wife Amy has walked out on him is charming, endearing and full of humour but at the heart there is also an interesting and at times uncomfortable exploration of our engagement with AI [artificial intelligence] with some disturbing sections that I found challengi ...more
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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. Her debut novel, A ROBOT IN THE GAR ...more

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