Fox, Helen 1962-
FOX, Helen 1962-
PERSONAL: Born 1962; married. Education: Graduate of Oxford University.
ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Wendy Lamb Books, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Writer. Worked variously as a primary school teacher, marketing executive, tour guide, and actress.
Eager (young-adult novel), Wendy Lamb Books (New York, NY), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A sequel to Eager.
SIDELIGHTS: Helen Fox's first book for young adults, Eager, takes place in late-twenty-first-century England. Gavin Bell's parents are middle-class professionals who have a family robot, but Grumps is an older model who is beginning to have problems. The family is not able to afford the latest BDC4 model, produced by the conglomerate LifeCorp that controls most technology, and so when a friend and former LifeCorp scientist asks them if they would like to try his untested model EGR3, they agree.
Eager (EGR3's nickname) is a robot designed to learn like a real child, and he soon becomes part of the Bell family. Gavin's sister Fleur Bell is embarrassed by Eager's unsophisticated appearance, which is not at all like the sleek BDC4 model her friend Marcie has, but when the BDC4s begin rebelling against their owners, Eager, who has developed the capacity for love, sadness, and joy, is also aware of the danger his family members face, and he exhibits the kind of bravery and growth that makes him wonder if he is actually alive. A Kirkus Reviews critic commented that, "while Eager's adventure isn't thrilling, his discoveries about life, formed through amusing conversations with virtual reality Socrates, are thought-provoking." Elizabeth Bush noted in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books that Fox "shines at times with flashes of humor and tenderness, as when Eager learns that sticky babies cannot be cleaned in a washing machine." School Library Journal contributor Sharon Rawlins wrote that Fox "raises thought-provoking questions about what it means to be human, the dangers of technology, and the concept of free will."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, Todd Morning, review of Eager, p. 1716.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2004, Elizabeth Bush, review of Eager, p. 417.
Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Eager, p. 451.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2004, review of Eager, p. 491.
School Library Journal, August, 2004, Sharon Rawlins, review of Eager, p. 121.