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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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I Thought You Were Dead Paperback – March 22, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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$9.12 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The smartest character in Nelson's latest is, unfortunately, Stella, a dog who speaks to her master, the sad, divorced, and listless writer Paul, often commenting on his lack of drive and the hours he logs at the local dive (Do you realize you're only slightly less routinized than a cat?). But when Paul's dad, a former Minneapolis teacher of the year, has a stroke, Paul heads home to deal with his family and his demons, leaving behind the elderly Stella and his noncommittal girlfriend, Tamsen. Paul's two worlds never meet, though his overachieving brother, Carl, and married-with-children sister, Bits, inflict their share of damage. Everything changes, though, when Paul's father begins using an instant messaging program to communicate, and after Paul unloads to his dad about his problems, his dad (literally) spells out the answer: quit drinking. Paul takes the advice, and his sobriety ends up being a cure-all. This unfortunately pat twist undermines the work Nelson put into the earlier parts of the book, and what's supposed to be a feel-good ending comes across as cheap. The characters—Stella especially—deserve better. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"[I Thought You Were Dead] has a low-key, indie-movie vibe, with Stella sounding like Juno's older, world-weary aunt." --The Washington Post
(The Washington Post)

"Chosen by independent booksellers as a recent No. 1 Book Sense Pick, I Thought You Were Dead, a novel about the bonds between dogs and humans, is heartfelt and nostalgic in tone . . . Stella's wisdom sets the luckless Paul on a brighter life path. It's her nobility . . . that gives the story its power." --USA Today
(USA Today)

"'I thought you were dead,' Stella says to Paul when he returns home from a bar, on page one of Pete Nelson's new novel. Delivered by an aging, arthritic Labrador/Shepherd mix, the line displays the dry wit and dog logic that makes Stella and, by extension, much of this novel a delight. Yes, Stella talks. And the conversations are so charming and matter-of-fact that it hardly seems worth asking from whence this special power comes." --Bark Magazine
(Bark Magazine)

"Airy and almost miraculous . . . It's very wise about the way devotion--between animals and people, between people and people--can keep us going." --Palm Beach Post
(Palm Beach Post)

"Stella the dog is always charming. And there's a dignity and gravity to Paul's affection for her . . . Their friendship [is] one of the best ever put down on paper." --St. Louis Post Dispatch
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Ultimately, I Thought You Were Dead is about the catastrophes that make a person realize his life is a mess, then do everything he can to put his life back together--perhaps, in the process, creating something better than he dared to hope for." --BookPage
(BookPage)

“A recent No. 1 Indie Next Pick, [this] novel about the bonds between dogs and humans is heartfelt and nostalgic . . . Stella’s wisdom sets the luckless Paul on a brighter life path. It’s her nobility . . . that gives the story its power.” ―USA Today


“A delight . . . Yes, Stella talks. And the conversations are so charming and matter-of-fact that it hardly seems worth asking from whence this special power comes.” ―Bark magazine


“A truly outstanding talking-dog story . . . With exquisite tone control, [Nelson] has given us a story that’s sweet and loving but never sentimental . . . Graceful, gratifying.” ―Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


“Stella the dog is always charming. And there’s a dignity and gravity to Paul’s affection for her . . . Their friendship [is] one of the best ever put down on paper.” ―St. Louis Post-Dispatch


“Airy and almost miraculous . . . It’s very wise about the way devotion―between animals and people, between people and people―can keep us going.” ―Chattanooga Times Free Press
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616200480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616200480
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I accidentally stumbled across this book in a large pile of books that my mother was reading. Am I glad I picked it up. It's the story of a middle-aged guy who has never really communicated with his father -- i.e., Every Guy. He has a competitive relationship with his brother, and is floundering in his love life. The only love he can count on is from his dog, Stella, who acts as his best friend and psychologist. After his father has a stroke, Paul takes a hard look at himself and his life, in order to put everything, including his relationships, back on track.

This book made me laugh out loud because certain parts were so funny. And it made me think about the parental bond, and how many regrets we have after we finally realize that our parents are mortal and we haven't said or done what we wanted to. Not to mention what a critical role animals, and dogs in particular, play in terms of consoling us and making us happy. All-around great entertainment with a message.
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Format: Audio CD
I Thought You Were Dead; Pete Nelson
(a WONDERFUL audio book experience)

Paul Gustavson's life seems to be going in the wrong direction. Paul's a writer of the "For Morons" series; his wife has divorced him, his girlfriend is seeing someone else, his sex life has more downs than ups due to recent impotence problems, and his father has suffered a serious stroke.

Depressed, he eats too much junk food, is getting seriously out of shape, drinks a little too much, and spends a little too much time in a dirty, smelly bar called The Bay State, located in western Massachusetts. Even his dog Stella thinks this bar is too dirty and smelly to spend time in.

You see Stella, is Paul's aging Lab and Shepard mix dog; she is wise beyond her years, and has a masterful vocabulary. A dog with amazing insight and sensitivity, Paul's furry therapist of sorts, discusses issues about, relationships, life, death, and whether dogs are smarter than wolves. Stella's insight, is exactly what Paul needs when he is feeling lonely, unloved and depressed. And, it is Stella that causes Paul to get his life back on track, and to sort out his life and mend his relationships with his father, brother and find joy in life once again.

MY THOUGHTS - Josh Clark is the most amazing reader. Your heart will melt as you listen to Stella's calming dog voice. It is pitch-perfect, and it is the banter between Paul and Stella that makes this book so special. I think this book would be good if you chose to read the print version, but if you enjoy audio books -- seek this one out. Dog lover or not, it is a story to be enjoyed -- funny, touching, heartfelt and memorable. DON'T MISS IT!
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked this up for my Kindle based on a recommendation in City Dog Magazine. I really enjoyed the ongoing dialogue between Paul and Stella and often imagine that my dog, Agnes, would speak much like Stella does if she could. It was a terrific representation of the weaknesses and insecurities of the human condition. I particularly gained a lot of perspective on the theme that Paul thought he was the messed up one and that he was envious of his brother's "perfect" life, only to realize that it is never greener on the other side of the fence. When it got to the chapter that I knew had to come, I cried from the first word to the last. I just wish that it could have been placed later in the book, as the conversations between Paul and Stella were, in my opinion, as valuable to Paul as if he were paying a high priced psychologist. I think his issues world have been better dealt with through his inner monologue with Stella. But I do understand how his loss of Stella was the kindling that he needed to get the fire of changing his life dramatically stoked. Paul's text dialogue with his father was also extremely touching. My only complaint would be that his decision to quit drinking was far too simplified and not medically accurate. With the amount of all day and night drinking we are led to believe Paul consumes, he would not be able to just decide one day to quit cold turkey. Alcohol withdrawal is a very serious medical issue; I just don't accept the fact that a chronic heavy drinker like Paul would not undergo a variety of medical manifestations from sudden withdrawal of a substance he is physiologically addicted to. Other than that I also thought it was a bit over-simplified that that one singled decision magically resulted in his life turning around completely, I think Paul is more complex than that and would have liked to see more resolution of his deeper seated insecurities.
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