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Showing 1-10 of 30 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 53 reviews
on July 5, 2017
This book was so boring I couldn't get past 20 pages. The writer tries to be original but he's not successful because the plot is weighed down by an imposed formula. Don't waste your time.
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on June 20, 2012
Here's what I wrote on my blog (Recovering Book Snob - [...]) when I was halfway through "I Thought You Were Dead."

I Love "Talking" Dogs!

I think I first fell in love with books that featured talking dogs years ago, when I read Harlan Ellison's classic novella that included the story A Boy and His Dog. The dog didn't actually talk, but he communicated with his human pal telepathically. It was a post-apocalyptic story that was made into a somewhat horrifying movie.

I remembered that book recently as I fell in love with another talking-dog book. In "I Thought You Were Dead" by Pete Nelson the dog actually talks. Stella, a german shepherd/labrador mix listens to her owner Paul's woes and offers some wonderfully amusing and wise advice.

A typical exchange:
Paul is explaining to Stella that his father has had a stroke. He says, "They don't know how bad it is. I was talking to a guy at the bar who said if they get to you in time, they can limit the damage."

"A guy at the bar said that?

"Yup."

"Always a good source for reliable medical information," she said. "I'm sorry for you."

I love this dog!

What I love about these dog books is that the dogs may be special (talking, telepathic, novel-narrating) but they're still very much dogs. They eat, poop and love a good scratch. And they're ever so loyal.

Here's what I wrote after I had finished the book:

Not Enough Dog

Just to follow up on my previous post about "I Thought You Were Dead." After finishing the book, I would give it four stars. I liked it, but it got a bit whiney in the middle. But mostly, I would have liked to hear more from the dog. If you're a dog lover, I recommend it. But be sure to keep some tissues handy.
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on June 12, 2011
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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on September 11, 2010
A good story to me is about the main character's uphill battles. What I focused on were Paul's battles with alcoholism, sexual impotence, and with his so-called perfect, monied, successful older brother, Carl. Paul's lack of knowledge and social skills are typical of the kind of hero I pull for. One of my favorite books is Ordinary People because Conrad Jarrett,like Holden Caulfield, has suffered so many severe emotional setbacks. Paul is older, but he feels that he's at the bottom of the pecking order, the "omega dog," who constantly appears to be a failure in the eyes of everyone except an open-hearted, open-minded woman named Tamsen, who sees his soft side and is attracted by his kindness. This is a very traditional "romance," in which the two lovers have to fight their way through every psychological and physical obstacle imaginable.

What may eventually connect them is their somewhat similar backgrounds, since Paul's father and Tamsen's mother are both successful teachers. That doesn't sound like a very strong bond, but they both admire their parents' profession, which tells you about the value system they share. Money and social prestige are not their ultimate goals. They value compassion.

Some critics are emphsizing that this is a story about dogs. Maybe, the connection to dogs is simply that dogs are extremely sensitive, and Paul is an extremely sensitive person. Beyond that I think the analysis of dogs should stop, and one should analyze Paul sans dogs.

Paul is troubled by his childhood like most of us. His only escape from his "perfect" family is through becoming the rebel. He's the black sheep who fights for his personal identity by defying conventions. Perhaps he feels shamed by his perfect, loving family. He listens to the beat of a different drummer like so many rebels. But he is not a radical extremist who would destroy lives. At the core he is as "middle class" as the rest of us. He seeks a life that is productive, that of a writer, even though writers like all artists are considered outcasts and useless.

Tamsen also values success in the corporate world, and she wants to climb the social ladder by marrying a medical doctor, Stephen. After her own difficult psychological struggles to do the right thing for herself, she make her choice. Hopefully, it's the one that readers will think is right for her.

So, please don't try to convince me that this is a story about Stella, Paul's dog. It's really a story about characters and families in conflict and how those conflicts are eventually resolved.
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on December 31, 2013
This book was recommended by a friend. I wasn't sure if I would like a "talking dog" book, but since that approach wasn't overdone, it worked for me. As a pet owner, I often "talk" to my dog and can appreciate how important it is to have a good listener. The chapter entitled "Time" was extremely difficult for me since I was wrestling with some serious issues when I read it. This book is really about Paul, the main character, and his journey into his future. I really liked it and would recommend it.
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on December 25, 2016
Somehow a love triangle and a sweet dog story are engaging in an adult way. Even the highly risky dying dog was so well written I fully accepted it. If I'd known the premise of the book before reading it I'd have scoffed at the notion. But it worked beautifully.
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on January 13, 2011
i love stories with dogs in them. As a dog owner i am drawn to them and i along with the character paul feel i can talk and listen to what my dog says on most days. the story is a very good one about our daily struggles in life and i thought it stayed true thru-out the book. i don't normally write reviews, in fact this is the first one i have written, but i felt compelled to write this in hopes that someone else chooses to read this book. this book is funny, sad and happy all at the same time. i hope you enjoy the book as i did.
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on September 13, 2010
I suppose you know that I am a dog lover and have a little white Maltese (at least part maltese, he is secretive about the other half, he is more of a person than some other strange breed). Anyway, I was intrigued with the book because of the title. It was not a disappointment, in fact after my continuous remarks my friends invited me to read some of my favorite portions. There were some laugh out loud passages but some that left me with teary eyes (and an armful of Happy).
I would recommend this book to all dog lovers and a few closeted ones.
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on January 17, 2011
I loved this book so much that I bought multiples to give away (always keeping one for myself) I read my own copy twice. This is such a heartwarming story about a man and the trials in his life. This is not just a book about a talking dog. This book will make you laugh and cry, and you'll buy a copy for a friend! Great book for bookclubs. Truly one of my favorite books. I highly recommend it!
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on January 19, 2013
The book had a hard time keeping my attention for the most part, but Stella stole my heart. However when it came to Stella's being "put down" I was crying so hard I could hardly see the words. I have lived through that before and it brought back many hard memories. I am thankful that I know without doubt, that all dogs go to heaven!
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