Mary Pearson discusses the Boston setting in Fox Forever!
The setting for the final book of The Jenna Fox Chronicles is Boston. In the story it’s the Capitol of a divided country, and being one of the oldest cities in our country, it seemed like the perfect contrasting setting to the futuristic world of Fox Forever.
Besides, I love Boston! I’ve never lived there but I’ve visited many times and have always been blown away by the beauty and history there. And it’s such a walkable city!
Locke loves Boston too. It’s his home town. He’s eager to return, but it is 260 years later. There are changes . . .
Home. My home.
Sure, it’s changed. A lot. After 260 years, I wouldn’t expect anything else.
It was fun for me to imagine which things would still be there, what would be gone, and what would look completely different. I think we always “try” to preserve the past, but the Boston of today looks different than the Boston of a hundred years ago. Change happens even in old historic cities. Yet I’m sure some things will always be the same. So in this Boston, 310 years in the future, I also tried to imagine the things that would still be around:
I walk around the apartment. Small but extravagant. Beautiful,even. Impressive. And that’s the point. To impress. Louisburg Square means as much now as it did when I lived in Boston, but I never set foot in one of these houses back then.
The walk from Louisburg Square to the Somerset Club is short. Only a few blocks. It’s on Beacon Street just half a block from the Secretary’s home, both buildings facing the Commons.
There’s so much beautiful architecture in Boston and I imagine in a few hundred years from now, a lot of it will still be around, like Louisburg Square and the Somerset Club. I had fun with the club. It’s a very real, very old exclusive club in Boston, so in Fox Forever, I imagined it to be the haunts of the equally exclusive Virtual Collective—a new kind of school–but the interior is still very old school. Well, except for the Bot who greets you at the door.
Even though Locke is happy to be back in somewhat familiar setting, when he sees a place where he and Kara used to hang out he is struck with a disturbing reality:
We exit and walk up the stairs to Congress Street and then over to Quincy Market, just behind Faneuil Hall. I’m excited when I first see it, feeling a familiar rush, remembering all the times Jenna, Kara, and I ate ourselves from one end to the other and then I sat in the food court with packages and my cell phone while Kara and Jenna continued to shop, but as soon as we near the front steps,I stop. It’s almost as though I’ve run into an invisible force field. I stare at the crowds, the carts, the kiosks, the entire world that has shifted from the one I knew. It’s all slightly off, like I’m watching a slow-motion movie of a sister city, one that’s trying to imitate the place where I used to live, like every person walking past is an actor on a set. Everything is a degree off, even the smell of the salty air. A chill crawls up my spine.
There’s a saying, “you can’t go home again” especially after an extended time away, because the home you remembered will be different. You will be different. Even though Boston is still there, it’s not the home that Locke remembers. The people he walked the streets with are all gone—long dead. All he sees are strangers now.
Oh! And I can’t talk about Boston without mentioning the T. It’s gone! I know, Locke was shocked too. But there are still interesting things down in those tunnels . . . Well, scary-interesting at least.
I hope readers will go for a spin down there. Be sure to go with a partner. Hold hands.