I Thought You Were Dead

  • by Pete Nelson
  • Narrated by Josh Clark
  • 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Early Audio Release - get I Thought You Were Dead here five weeks before print/CD publication.
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.


What the Critics Say

“A cunning and completely winning novel. . . . You will fall in love.” (Susan Cheever, author of American Bloomsbury)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Solid, emotional, "man growing up" story

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.

The narration is very good.
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- crazybatcow "I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)"

Huge suspension of disbelief

By the title of my review, you might think I am talking about the perceptive, prescient, and highly verbal dog, Stella, best friend to the main character. However, it's not about that. She's terrific, believable and completely relatable.

It's that I just wonder why or how anyone can maintain two concurrent significant others, and why or how said SO's are willing to tolerate the uncertainty. Once I got past that roadblock, however, I found the book completely enjoyable and full of spiritual and emotional learnings, especially concerning what constitutes a suitable mate - is it the ability to provide economically and to furnish the comfortable life circumstances that would allow access to more opportunities for the individual ? Or is it compatibility on a deeper level, a connection that renders two people more like soul mates?

I found the conversations between the main character and his stroke-victim father particularly full of feeling, in addition to being an inventive literary device, using the computer and the IM system. The words "yes" and "no" have never been so weighty.

I did not, however, think Paul's sudden conversion to an alcohol-free life was realistic. After a curt message from his father, Paul simply destroys all the alcohol in his house and never again consumes another drop. It just doesn't happen that way, unless you are NOT an alcoholic in the first place. And in that case why such extreme measures?

I thought the narrator's hoarse and husky voice gave the impression that Paul was more of the self-defined "loser" than he actually was. Even though the narrator did an excellent job of conveying nuanced emotion, the voice had a touch of vulnerability that I didn't want. I would rather have thought of Paul as more of a strong and vibrant personality, even though his life circumstances were not optimum.

Still, a four-star read, and well-worth the price!
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- Pamela Harvey "glam"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-09-2010
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books