The setting is Portsmouth, New Hampshire, mostly over the summer in the nineteen-eighties or early nineties, in places where Freak and The Might interact—real or imaginary.
The book was published in 1993, and Philbrick admitted that he based it on his childhood home in New Hampshire. Throughout the book, the boys visit each other and go to school. These are the main settings.
In the beginning, the story recounts Freak and The Mighty’s interactions with each other when they were younger. This is important to the setting because it establishes that they knew each other before.
The Mighty describes the first time he saw Freak, when they were little, in the time of the “phony hugs” in day care.
He didn’t look so different back then, we were all of us pretty small, right? (ch 1, p. 2)
This early setting description details how the two friends first became aware of one another. One day Freak showed up with crutches, and then braces. When they started regular school, they were separated.
As it is for most kids, an important setting in this book is the summer. Summer is a time when kids explore and get to know each other and their world in their own way, without much adult interference. In this case, summer allows Freak and the Mighty to create their own world.