Thursday, 6 October 2016

A Robot in the Garden, by Deborah Install

This is a lovely, lovely story that is really quite special and completely heartwarming - don’t mistake it for sci-fi just because it has the word ‘robot’ in the title!

One morning Ben looks out his window to find a small robot sitting at the end of the garden, watching the horses in the field next door. Ben can’t get much sense out of the robot except his name – Tang – but, much to the disgruntlement of his wife, decides to take Tang in.

Tang is like a small child, fascinated by everything and leaving a trail of trouble, but Ben – like I couldn’t help doing either – quickly becomes rather attached to him. The question is, though, where did Tang come from? He doesn’t remember, but when Ben discovers a vital part of Tang is on the verge of breakdown, he and Tang set out to find Tang’s first owner to see if he can save him. Following the trail of clues around the world, both Ben and Tang are set on a path of discovery and the makings of a friendship like no other.

“A story of the greatest friendship ever assembled,” is the tag line on my copy of the book, and I’d have to agree. Deborah Install fills A Robot in the Garden with the perfect mix of humour, adventure and discovery, and subtly makes you question the balance between father and child. It's a very gentle story, yet an awful lot happens all at the same time - Ben is a bit of a lay-about at the beginning of the story, but Tang's presence changes everything and their road trip helps them to both grow an enormous amount. A book that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside; I loved it.