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The Inverted Forest

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  436 ratings  ·  78 reviews
In the summer of 1996 at Kinder Mann Forest Camp in rural Missouri, the elderly camp director finds his counselors swimming naked two days before the camp is to open and fires them all. Among his new counselors is Wyatt Hurdy, a genetically disfigured young man. All his life, large, gentle, diligent Wyatt has been misjudged because of his appearance. Now, he's among the co ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 461 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by Center Point Large Print (first published July 19th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,161)
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Lou
Before I begin what is your IQ rating? Is it important? These categorizations are important in our hum drum of life especially to the walks of life who have had shall we say a less exterior normality for instance one character in this story Wyatt Huddy. He has a facial disfigurement and disorder from birth. The grave truth of us the human race is we label, point, snicker and gossip. We discriminate for race, for abilities and disabilities, appearance and size. In this case this gem of a story yo ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
4.5 stars actually - so very close to a five!
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

A perfect summer novel for those looking for something with a bit more depth in their reading. This novel has an idyllic summer camp setting in the Ozark Mountains, where an unexpected tragedy is set in motion through a series of complicated events. It is a heart wrenching and insightful story that has a diverse and unusual set of characters.

About: When Wyatt Hudy is accepted as a camp counselor for the summ
...more
Charlotte
http://charlotteswebofbooks.blogspot....

The Inverted Forest is a magnificent piece of literature. It's beauty is the slow, detailed way the author takes with setting the story. The history of the camp, the beauty of the Ozarks, the life that Wyatt Huddy has lived. There isn't a lot of flash or excitement to The Inverted Forest. It is a story that is carefully plotted out and told with such precision. As a reader we know that something "shocking" is going to happen, and can even predict what is c
...more
Djrmel
One of the best books I've read this year. Beautiful writing with original, deeply developed characters. Some of them are intriguing, some are heart breaking, some are endearing and some are down right evil, yet none of them are one note. The story appears to be about a young man who, having spent his entire life living down to the expectations others have of him, takes an opportunity to rise above that. However, as the book goes on, the reader discovers that it's not just Wyatt that wants to pr ...more
Stephanie
I had a really hard time rating this book. In fact, I keep changing it. I want to give it 0 stars for the awkward perverted parts that made me feel so uncomfortable. I could have given it 4 stars for the non-awkward parts because I really enjoyed the plot idea. I almost put it down to not pick up again several times in the beginning because it was that awkward and unnecessarily perverted. I don't mind a book that makes you think, or pushes the boundaries, but this went way beyond that. In the en ...more
Jason
Two days before the first session at the Kindermann Forest Summer Camp, the camp director fires his entire staff for participation in a lewd late-night pre-session celebration.

Enter Wyatt Huddy, genetically disfigured and trained by life to be pliant and agreeable, currently living in a back room of the Salvation Army. One of a dozen new camp counselors, brought in on the fly, Wyatt and his new colleages are quickly settled in and explained their duties, but not until the first buses of campers
...more
Aaron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Slater
This is an absorbing book. The author makes you _need_ to keep reading. It is the strangest story I have read in a long, long time. The four stars I awarded it are NOT because I "really liked" the book. I awarded them because the book is so well written, the characters so well drawn, and the interplay among the characters so honest.

A young man with a curious and unappealing deformity, from a family that is emotionally deformed, takes a job as a counsellor at a summer camp out in a forest. The fi
...more
Connie
I'm sure I missed something in this book because the reviews are unanimously excellent, but I thought this was an awful read. I could barely stand to finish it. I didn't like the characters. Thought the entire premise was ridiculous. There were small mistakes that bugged me too. (Well, they might not have bothered me if had been enjoying the book, but I wasn't, so they did.) I'll continue to read the reviews and maybe a bolt of lightning will strike me and I'll see the error of my ways. But unti ...more
Angie Fehl
This story starts out in the summer of 1996, though I'm not sure why the author bothered -- there was nothing overtly '90s about the storyline. I'm guessing it was done to make sense of the present day ending maybe? What with the racism and despicable behavior towards the disadvantaged, I felt this story having a more early 1960s vibe.

From the synopsis, I was under the impression that the story was mostly supposed to follow the character Wyatt Huddy but it didn't feel like he played a huge role
...more
Sara
I work with developmentally disabled children and young adults so I'm quite partial to the subject, but I truly loved this book. It uses the word retarded a lot as opposed to its politically correct synonyms but it was otherwise a fabulous piece of literature and I'm so very glad I read it!
Janet
Disfigured Wyatt has a chance to change his life, when an opportunity to become a camp counselor comes his way. What he and the other brand-new counselors are not prepared for is that the first two weeks of summer camp are for adults from the state facility--mentally handicapped in many ways. The story is pretty interesting, and the writer is good. I felt at times that too much time was spent on characters who didn't really keep the story moving. I think the book might have been more effective i ...more
EThayer3
I liked the idea of this book. A summer camp, a couple nights before opening for the season the director has to fire most of the staff for skinny dipping. New group of counselors hired asap, unbeknowst to them the first weeek is for adult campers with challenging mental disabilities (I hope I'm using a politacally correct term). One of the counselors, while not mentally challenged, does have a disability that at first glance could put him in this category.

The plot was good and kept me going but
...more
Bryan Basamanowicz
While John Dalton, the famous, 19th century scientist is best known for his sharpening of elemental knowledge into atomic knowledge, John Dalton the novelist is perhaps most admired for the atomically keen precision with which he penetrates the depths of character identity. In his latest novel, The Inverted Forest, Dalton sets up his yarn-spinning laboratory at a week-long special session of a children's summer camp, where a motley rabble of inexperienced counselors are charged, unexpectedly, wi ...more
Tim
Usually, things and people are best known from the inside out. Outward appearances can lie or, at the least, bring misdirection.

The characters in John Dalton's "The Inverted Forest" during a life-changing two weeks at a 1996 summer camp in rural Missouri, reveal their essences, for better and for worse.

Shortly before a summer session is to begin, elderly camp director Schuller Kindermann is startled by what his young counselors are up to at Kindermann Forest Summer Camp. Kindermann discovers the
...more
Jann Barber
Don't judge a book by its cover.

A person who is lovely on the outside is not automatically lovely on the inside.

******

Wyatt Huddy has Apert Syndrome, which affects the shape of his head and facial features. Many, including Wyatt, feel that he also has diminished intelligence. He lives in a room at the Salvation Army, having been rescued from a horrible home situation by two kind men who gave him a job there and place to live.

In 1996, Wyatt is given the opportunity to be a counselor at a summer c
...more
Karen
I really liked Dalton's first novel "Heaven Lake", so I was looking forward to his second book. When I read the front flap of the book with the description, I thought it sounded like a strange setting and story. And now I can report it was. The story takes place at a summer camp in Missouri. The camp director fires the staff right before the camp opens and has to quickly hire a new staff, and neither is prepared for the season. While the camp is for children, unbenownst to the new staff, the fir ...more
Michelle
Years ago I read John Dalton’s debut Heaven Lake, which I loved, so was excited to read this one (plus it had great reviews). This book was stark, yet stunning, and will stay with me a long time. It’s deceptive almost. It reads quietly, in a literary fashion, and then about halfway in you realize you’re holding your breath. At one point I was walking and reading this book (in a public area!), which is something I never do. I literally could not put it down, not a phrase I use lightly, if ever.

Ki
...more
Shaun
This was my first book by this author and it was surprisingly good. It's about a summer camp in Missouri. It begins with all the counselors getting fired before the first campers arrive, because they had a wild naked pool party with alcohol and craziness. The camp director hires in a rush, a new crew of counselors. Before any children arrive, they have a group of mentally disabled adults attend the camp for two weeks. The story rolls out from there. The character development is very good and the ...more
Jeanne
There are beautiful things in this book and horrible things. Dalton does a wonderful job of hinting where another writer might force your nose into a scene. It could feel like he's too lightly tracing the story, but instead, it asks the reader to understand what is unsaid. And there's a lot unsaid.

The story line follows people at a summer camp in 1996, though by the feel of it, it could be 1966. That seems right, since the camp is sort of timeless. The camp director finds his entire staff of cou
...more
Rebekah
I don't know what I was thinking when I went into this book--fun, summer camp memories; juicy camp gossip--but it certainly wasn't what I got. It took over 100 pages for me to get engaged in the story, and the only reason I kept going was because the reviews I'd seen suggested it was a really moving and engaging story. I figured it had to get better. By page 150 I realized I was mostly skimming, reading only a couple of words of each sentence. I forced myself to focus and engage in the story, bu ...more
Beth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom
For the first 90 pages or so, I marveled at how engaged I was in this novel with no apparent plot or actual character development. Seriously, I was interested. It starts to coalesce into something though by the end of the book's first part, which is about 65-70% through. The second part, then, feels almost like an extended denouement. One of the best points in the novel for me is the Marcy Bittman storyline that takes place in 2011 in the book's second part. I also found interesting the case tha ...more
Jessica
Days before Kindermann Forest Summer Camp is set to open, the director discovers his counselors drinking alcohol and skinny-dipping, fires all of them, and must hurry to find replacements before the first wave of campers arrives.

One of those replacements is Wyatt, a young man with a genetic disfigurement; a gentle giant deeply concerned both that others will interpret his physical appearance as indicative of a mental disability, and that it actually is. Surprisingly when the campers arrive they
...more
Darcey
Picked this up since I really enjoyed Dalton's first book, Heaven Lake. I also enjoyed this book, thought not as much as HL. The premise was interesting - summer camp counselors hired a few days before camp begins are surprised to learn they'll spend the first two weeks working with severely developmentally disabled (referred to as "retarded" in the book) adults before the kids arrive. Blossoming friendships, introspection, self-discovery, terrible management, personality clashes, and a horrifyi ...more
Linda
I'm not sure what I expected from this book but I found it incredibly boring. Soooooo much narrative, and not enough action for me. I had to skip to the end, I just couldn't take it any longer.
Joyce
This is definitely a different story from what I expected that turned into a page turner. The beautifully detailed "picture" of the area provided by the author created an idyllic setting... alluding to near perfection of the summer camp setting; however it turned out to be quite opposite. In the words of Nurse Harriet, (my favorite character) "There's no one in charge at camp ... There's no one to stop the very worst people ... from doing what they want."

As a series of seemingly unrelated events
...more
Grace
Easily my favorite book of the year. Not surprisingly, since Heaven Lake is in my top 5 books of all times. I think this is right up there, too. Love, love, loved it.
Renee
I really liked this book. It made me think about perceptions we may have about people. The characters all developed well and I felt sympathy for the characters.
Sonia
I enjoyed this novel by John Dalton. It's certainly unlike anything I've ever read and truly unpredictable. However I found it a bit difficult to get really attached to any of the characters and that is usually a winning trait for me when reading a novel. While I think Dalton put a lot of research into what traits certain types of individuals might have, I felt that this might have detracted from the characters feeling a bit more authentic. I also still have a little trouble with the insertion o ...more
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John Dalton is the author of the novel, Heaven Lake, winner of the Barnes and Noble 2004 Discover Award in fiction and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently a member of the English faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he teaches in their MFA Writing Program. John lives with his wife and ...more
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