I Thought You Were Dead

I Thought You Were Dead

A Love Story

Book - 2010
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For Paul Gustavson, life is a succession of obstacles, a minefield of mistakes to stumble through. His wife has left him, his father has suffered a 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 Stella.

Stella is Paul's dog. She listens with compassion to all his complaints about the injustices of life and gives him better counsel than any human could. Their relationship is at the heart of this poignantly funny and deeply moving story about a man trying to fix his past in order to save his future.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781565125971
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 264 p. ; 22 cm


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Dec 30, 2018

I was warned. Another love story. It was tight there on the cover. The dog threw me off. Well written, a bit kitsch, a tad moralistic, pushing all the right buttons, the guy getting the girl in the end. Fantastic fairy tale.

Sep 08, 2018

I loved this book. It's one of those books where, the day after finishing it, you say to yourself "I wonder how Paul is doing." Well written, with believable characterizations and dialogue. Ordinarily, I don't care for the anthropomorphism of animals but dialogue with Stella never gets treacle-y & sounds, at times, is not unlike my own conversations with my own dogs. Of course, that's the beauty of a 'dog book': it resonates with all the stories of all the dogs who've ever owned you. I've spent storms under a blanket, holding a dog's paw, I've been the recipient of that gut-busting, over the top, boundless joy -- "You're home! I thought you were dead & never coming home again!"
This is a super book! Enjoy!

Jul 04, 2016

Readers who encounter this book and immediately put it aside as being a dog story (and worse, an anthropomorphic dog story) will be mistaken and will have missed out on something very good. Yes, Paul does have very personal conversations with Stella, but you soon begin to understand that it's not nearly as simple as that. What we have here bears some resemblance to a book by Mitch Albom (a very good thing) and a Woody Allen movie (a no-so-good thing). Those who appreciate Woody Allen's neuroses or dislike whatever that stuff is that Mitch Albom does would be wise to avoid this book. Yes, I guess it does get a bit preachy in the later chapters (hence only 4 stars) and I guess you need to appreciate the unique inter-species relationship between humans and dogs. But beyond all that, the story is solid, the writing in places is spectacular and there are moments of sheer hilarity to lighten things up. A very enjoyable 4 stars.

Aug 27, 2013

This book still lives with me. Lured by the title (and the photo), I found it to be and insightful, imaginative and quirky tale that grabbed me right from the beginning. Stella's "voice" is very real, giving her sometimes tiresome owner a real dose of reality from time to time. Which is what dogs do!
Not my usual cup of tea -- but well written and worth the short time to read.

JCLHelenH Mar 09, 2013

More than Pete's relationship with Stella, what resonated with me was Pete's struggle with alcoholism. Unlike many stories revolving around alcoholics, Pete never hits rock bottom, which makes for a slower, meandering tale. But at the same time makes "I Though You Were Dead" so much more real, typical and therefore engaging.

MasKitago214 Jan 13, 2012

Considering I didn't know what to expect and #1 I own 2 dogs so I LOVE any book relating to dogs and human relations with animals!!!

debwalker Apr 27, 2011

"Dante may have had his Beatrice, but Paul Gustavson has Stella, a venerable pooch who is his guiding light for matters of the mind and heart. Their ongoing dialogue is smart, sweet, and poignant, and together they take on their fears of thunderstorms and seedy bars (hers) and normal, loving relationships without the buffer of alcohol (his), each bringing out the best in each other. This book is clever, heartwarming, and engaging."--Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

daymakerdave Jan 15, 2011

This book came to me by way of reccomendation and initially it seemed like something I'd be interested in but once I got a few chapters in, I began to question whether this book is as good as I was led to believe.

It's a story of a pathetic and ultimatley boring character who's life is some-what-but-not-really out of control. The only thing I found interesting in this book was the characters interactions with his talking dog, a golden retriever named Stella.

The fact that Stella can talk is quirky and fun, but quickly loses it's charm and when she dies part way through the book it takes all of the fun out of the story.

I would not reccomend this book to anyone for any reason.

Aug 08, 2010

I highly recommend jumping straight into this book without reading the blurb. I did and the experience was outstanding.


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