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I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story

I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story

Written by Pete Nelson

Narrated by Josh Clark


I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story

Written by Pete Nelson

Narrated by Josh Clark

ratings:
3.5/5 (18 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Released:
Apr 13, 2010
ISBN:
9781615730919
Format:
Audiobook

Description

For Paul Gustavson, a hack writer for the wildly popular For Morons series, life is a succession of obstacles. His wife has left him, his father has suffered a debilitating stroke, his girlfriend is dating another man, he has impotency issues, and his overachieving brother invested his parents’ money in stocks that tanked. Still, Paul has his friends at Bay State bar, a steady line of cocktails, and a new pair of running shoes (he’ s promised himself to get in shape). And then there’ s Stella, the one constant in his life, who gives him sage advice, doesn’ t judge him, and gives him unconditional love. However, Stella won’ t accompany Paul into his favorite dive bar. “ I’ ll roll on dead carp, I’ ll even eat cat turds, but that place grosses me out.” Stella, you see, is Paul’ s aging Lab-shepherd mix, and she knows Paul better than he knows himself.

In I Thought You Were Dead, author Pete Nelson delivers a novel that is all at once heartwarming, heartbreaking, and heart-wrenchingly funny. Most of all, it’ s a story that proves that when a good dog is by your side—especially one with whom you can have an engaging conversation—life can be full of surprises.
Released:
Apr 13, 2010
ISBN:
9781615730919
Format:
Audiobook

About the author


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Reviews

What people think about I Thought You Were Dead

3.6
18 ratings / 18 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    This was a surprise. It's sweet and...sort of beautifully understated. The real love story, to my mind, is between our narrator and Stella.
  • (4/5)
    I don't normally read such "touchy-feely-finding-oneself" books because usually they are just too sappy. This one is actually surprisingly addictive. I couldn't relate to Paul or his life or his relationships (girlfriend, family, dog) and yet I kept reading because I wanted to see whether or not he grew up, grew a pair, sorted out his life, and had a happy ending.It is extraordinarily believable for a book that has a talking dog as a main character. One might think that this basic premise would make the book silly, but Stella acts/reacts exactly how one would expect a dog to act.It is emotionally heavy and his and his girlfriend's behaviors had me frustrated (in a good way) throughout most of the story. She was just a bit too "holier-than-thou" for my taste. I also have a little dislike for the last 1/5 of the novel which took on an Alcoholics Anonymous flavor which was just a tad convenient and somewhat preachy.
  • (5/5)
    I got the audio book version of this from Early Reviewers, but I don't listen to those, so it took me a while to actually get around to reading the book. Now that I've read it, I wish I'd listened to the audio book before giving it away, since I'd like to see how it was done.I really enjoyed this book. It's humorous and touching. The main character, Paul, deals with his life events while discussing them with his dog Stella (who responds in English). Paul's father is sick, which brings his family together and gets Paul (with Stella and his father's help) to face some issues in his life and relationships.I don't want to give anything away, but it's an interesting book that's a good (and quick) read.I did think it odd that in a book published in 2010 and seeming to take place in this time period Paul would use a floppy disc to store files. I don't even have a floppy drive in my last TWO computers. Do they sell floppy discs any more? This clearly didn't matter to the story, but it did seem odd in a modern book.
  • (5/5)
    A delightful gem of a book. Paul Gustavson is a hack writer for a book series For Morons. He is divorced, his father has had a bad stroke, the woman he likes is dating another man, and his relationship with his brother is remote. But he has friends at his favorite bar and Stella, his aging dog. Stella listens to him and gives him good counsel. This story is of a middle-aged man seeking to finally grow within himself. And as he looks around, he finds the support he needs.
  • (4/5)
    I had intended on hosting The Dog Days of Summer again this year, so when I saw the audiobook copy of I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson offered up in LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's program, I requested it. I was excited when I snagged it and it arrived in April. I'd never snagged an audiobook before. As with much else in my life the second half of this year, Dog Days of Summer didn't materialize this summer and this audiobook slipped my mind. I didn't get around to listening to it until September.I Thought You Were Dead begins with the premise that a man and his dog can actually speak to each other. The first time Josh Clark, the book's narrator, speaks in Stella's voice it was slightly awkward. I decided to suspend my disbelief and see where the story took me. I am so glad that I did. It didn't take long for Stella's voice to feel natural and necessary to me. I loved her. Any worries that I might have had that this novel would be too much like The Art of Racing in the Rain were put to bed immediately.Paul's story of his broken marriage, his half-hearted career as a writer of "For Morons" books, his faraway family and ill father, his tenuous relationship with his current girlfriend and his other issues were interesting to me as well. Life doesn't always work out the way it's planned. This novel is about coming to grips with that realization and coming out the other side a stronger person. In that way, Stella's place in Paul's life falls somewhere between conscience and his inner voice. It all worked well for me.I don't often all out cry when reading books. I Thought You Were Dead was the first audiobook to ever bring me to tears - three times in fact. If you love dogs, are entering your middle years, live far away from your family, consider your life a disappointment, or are human, you will find something for yourself in this book. I've never had a pet like Stella, but having such a wonderful dog love you must be one way the universe lets you know just how valuable you are.If you listen to audiobooks, I found Josh Clark to be an engaging narrator.Final ThoughtsThe premise may seem risky at the outset, but if you're anything like me, it will be well worth it.
  • (1/5)
    Paul Gustafson is a writer, recently divorced and an alcoholic. He is dating a woman who is also dating another man. Paul also has a dog, Stella, with whom he communicates. His relationships with family are strained and most of his friends are other alcoholics.I listened to this book and that may have affected my opinion about it. While the reader tried to change his voice for the different characters, the female voices came off as whiny. During most of the book, Paul carries on whole conversations with his dog, Stella. There is never any explanation for this...the book isn't written as a fantasy or with paranormal aspects, so it's not very believable. While the goal of the book (I think) is to watch Paul fall as low as possible and then grow and change in a positive direction, the character of Paul irritated me. He was whiny and wimpy and I didn't care what happened to him.
  • (3/5)
    I'm still not completely sold on audio books because the narration can play a large part of whether I enjoy a book instead of the just the written story. Thankfully the narration of I Thought You Were Dead was actually well done and this time.The story is of Paul, a guy just floating through life and of his aging dog Stella. The premise is that Paul's father has a stroke that pushes him to make changes in his life and the gimmick is that his dog Stella talks to Paul. That had me hooked to the story and I could have loved the book. However, at a certain part of the story something changes and what was good about the book was lost. I was so depressed that I couldn't enjoy the rest of the story as much as I had been enjoying it. However I'm glad I had the chance to listen to it.
  • (3/5)
    For anyone who's ever wondered why their dog is so happy to see them.
  • (5/5)
    I received this book through the Early Reviewers program and halfway through listening to it, my CD player broke and it took 8 weeks for the car dealer to fix it, so I apologize for the lateness of my review. Paul Gustavson is stuck in neutral. His wife has left him, his father has had a stroke, his girlfriend is dating another man who can give her everything she needs. Paul finds solace in bars and in the bottle and most importantly his wisely naive Golden Retriever, Stella, with whom he discusses everything. She talks back, too, but only to Paul. This book deals mostly with relationships and is long on introspection. The story revolves around Paul and his struggles and relationships. Stella is a supporting character, so if you are looking for a humorous book that features a dog as a main character, this isn't it. Although it wasn't what I expected, I loved this book, and I loved Josh Clark's hushed narration that seemed perfect for such an introspective protagonist. I think the reasons it spoke so strongly to me are that I could identify with some of the things that Paul was dealing with - a parent completely incapacitated by a stroke and an aging, beloved pet.
  • (3/5)
    I Thought You Were Dead is the latest book in the talking dog trend. I'm a dog lover and some of these books really work for me. While I can't say I loved this one, I did think that Stella was well written and believable.Paul Gustavson is an immature, lost and lonely soul. He writes for the Moron series of books (think books for Dummies), sort of has a girlfriend, and is floating through life pretty directionless. When his father has a stroke it serves as a wake-up call for Paul and he starts trying to get his life together. Stella, his dog, gives him advice and support along the way.While I really liked Stella and her voice, I mostly disliked Paul. He is so flaky in the beginning that it was hard for me to accept his dramatic turnaround. It was equally surprising when his family so easily accepted the new and improved Paul. I listened to this book on audio and thoroughly enjoyed the narrator. Stella's voice was distinctive without being overdone and seemed to fit her personality perfectly.
  • (2/5)
    I received this book on cd's. We started to listento it in the car in a trip to VT that would take 4 1/2 hours. It took forever just to get through the first cd and by the 2nd we were all thouroughly confused and very bored. I don't know if it was the drone of the reader's voice or the conten. Maybe both!
  • (5/5)
    This is a very sweet and winsome novel. Paul and his best friend Stella, who just happens to be a dog, have gone through life together as a little family of sorts. Paul is divorced, lonely and finds comfort at the local bar each night where Stella is allowed to hang out in the doorway. Paul is just passing time, his life is stagnant and he is envious of those who seem to have it all. He writes books for "Morons" for a living, kind of like the self help books for dummies. His self esteem is in the negative double didgits. Out of the blue Paul's father has a disabling stroke and Paul is forced to take a good look at his life and where exactly it is going. Through his relationship with his sometime girlfriend Tamsin, his wonderful dog and teacher Stella and his relationship with the bottle, Paul realizes that he must change if he wants the good life that he perceives others having. He learns slowly but surely with help from some online monosyllable text conversations with his father to step out of loser status by making small changes in attitude and to embrace life in the fullest. This is a bittersweet and delightful story of one man's path to personal wholeness. I received this as an early reviewer audio book from Librarything.com and I can't speak highly enough of the narrator. Stella's voice was a delight and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations Paul and Stella had.Highly recommended, and not just for dog lovers (of which I am!)
  • (3/5)
    A nicely written novel, that's basically a coming of age story about a fortyish man. Paul is divorced, drinks too much, is unsure about his relationship with the beautiful Tamsin, and has always felt like the odd man out--the disappointing child--in his family. The one bright spot in his life is Stella, his 15-year-old yellow lab. Paul can talk to Stella about anything--and, as long as they are alone, Stella talks back! By turns funny, tragic, and uplifting, Paul and Stella live through many changes within a few months, and the ending, while not surprising, is ultimately satisfying.
  • (3/5)
    Paul is going through a mid-life crisis. He's trying to deal with his recent divorce and his father's even more recent stroke. He relies on his drinking buddies at the local bar to cheer him and make him forget his loneliness. He relies on companionship from his girlfriend, who is in an "open relationship" with him and one other man. And he relies on his ancient dog Stella to help him ruminate over life's issues. He's not the first human to ever talk to their pet, but Stella might just be the first dog who talks back. But only to Paul. She proves to be quite insightful, both in offering rather impartial views of what is going on in Paul's life and in how she innocently questions why humans make the choices they do. This is a quirky tale of letting go and moving on, of figuring out what you want life to be for you, of relationships and communication told in a placid but fresh voice worth listening to.
  • (2/5)
    Paul is your “average Joe” character and this is his story as seen primarily through the eyes of his elderly dog Stella. Paul is divorced, under-employed, suffers from a drinking problem, has a girlfriend who is torn between him and another man and a gifted brother, in whose shadow he has spent his entire life. What else could possibly go wrong? Then his father has a stroke, and rather than paddling through life he is forced to deal with his family and confront his personal demons.

    My favourite line in this book is the title. The author explains that a dog is always so happy to see you when you come home because they have no sense of “away”. Their happiness is a result of relief … “I’m so glad to see you. I thought you were dead!” This book is another heart-warming, tear jerking, feel good story featuring the voice of a canine. Nice light read for a summer evening.
  • (3/5)
    I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story by Pete Nelson is about the special bond between man and dog. In this case it's a hack writer, Paul, and an aging, talking dog, Stella.Paul is dissatisfied with his career — he writes for the "For Morons" series. His father has had a debilitating stroke. He's not sure he wants to continue in the open relationship he has with his girlfriend. He might be an alcoholic. And his best friend, Stella, is getting old.But it's Stella who does the worrying for both of them. And it is she who says, "I thought you were dead," her standard greeting when he's out too late.And here's where I had trouble with the book — to no fault of Pete Nelson's skill as a writer. In the states, dogs are often treated as furry children. And by extension, when we have conversations with dogs, we do it with a similar tone and limited vocabulary as we do with young children. It's no wonder that were they to answer, we'd expect them to answer somewhat like a young elementary school aged child.And — that shtick has been done in book (and PBS cartoon), Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh. Having watched many episodes of Martha Speaks with my children, it was damn near impossible to not hear Stella speak in Martha's voice. I also often heard the theme song of the PBS show whenever Paul and Stella were talking.
  • (4/5)
    This book is deeper than it appear on its surface. On its surface its about a man, Paul, coming to terms with some things going wrong in his life: his dog is old, his father has had a stroke, his career is not exactly booming, he’s competing with another man for his girlfriend. As he attempts to reconnect with his dad, who cannot speak as a result of the stroke, he realizes what he’s doing wrong in his own life. An endearing part of the book is that he converses with his dog, Stella, and Stella talks back, giving him guidance. (In fact, Stella finally comes to Paul, and says, “Paul, it’s time.” And the ensuing conversation really helped me deal with some decisions regarding my own elderly dog.)By the end of the book, Paul has made great strides, and his life has straightened out dramatically. I was moved by the book, much more so that I thought I would be by how it started out. I imagined the character much like Raymond from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” That’s the tone in which the book is written, but there is much more here; I highly recommend it.The title refers to a dog’s feeling that every time you leave them, you are gone for good, you are “dead.” When you return, they think, “Oh, I thought you were dead.”I received an audio copy of this book as part of the Early Reviewers program. This was apparently an error on my part, as I don’t do audio books; they just don’t fit into my lifestyle, and I avoid requesting audio versions of books. When I inquired about possibly trading with someone, I was fairly nastily reprimanded by someone at LT. So I purchase a copy, read it, and here is my review. I’m sorry I can’t speak to the reader on the audio copy. I considered donating it to my local library, but since I acquired via LT, I’d like to pass it on to another LT member. If someone would care to leave me a message, I’d be glad to pass it on at my own expense.
  • (5/5)
    I received an audio version of this book as part of the LibrayThing’s early reviewers program, and I am so glad I was chosen to receive a copy of this story. I loved the humorous and serious interactions between the protagonist Paul Gustavson and his wise dog Stella. The author did a great job of making Stella real and likeable, and I became quite attached to her. Her owner, Paul, was a bit frustrating at times while he was fighting his demons, but the business of demon fighting IS usually frustrating. I thought the ending was a little too clean considering what Paul was going though, but it did not ruin the book for me. I truly enjoyed this story, and would recommend reading it. Even though my copy of the audio version frequently skipped, I would also recommend the audio version if you can find one that doesn’t skip. I would not suggest this book for a family read as one of the issues dealt with is sexual in nature. This is a work of fiction, but you would probably like this book if you enjoyed Merle’s Door by Ted Karasote.