In The Dyer Island Boys, two young surgical residents in post-WWII New York City, one a recent veteran, purchase a small, undeveloped island off the coast of Maine for summer adventure, but end up creating a community camp run for and by adolescent boys, providing positive structure for generations of teens in the process.
When Walter Wickson is robbed at knifepoint by young Harry Thompson, he isn't looking to get the boy in trouble. Instead, he persuades the judge to allow Harry to join him and his colleague, Meredith Jones, on Dyer Island. The two men-along with Wick's girlfriend, a medical intern named Anne Dobson whose ambitions are temporarily thwarted when she is diagnosed with tuberculosis-create a novel therapeutic and rehabilitation plan for Harry involving hard work and solitude for personal growth.
Fifty years later, Harry returns to Dyer Island-now a fully-fledged summer camp community run by adolescent boys. This time, he's here not as a camper, but as a member of the team. 15-year-old Johnny Miller has been rebelling against the camp community, and Wick has summoned Harry back to the island to help show Johnny the value of their work. On a walking tour of the island camp, the two men take Johnny on a journey through the story of their friendship and how it led to the creation of the camp.
As they tell Johnny in their story, the three doctors' lives intertwine with Harry's over time as their plans for summer fun ultimately evolve into the creation of a community that offers directionless teen boys a way to gain valuable skills and experience, leading to gainful employment and involved citizenship. The Dyer Island Boys is an uplifting story of struggle, accomplishment, and redemption.