Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Thought You Were Dead” as Want to Read:
I Thought You Were Dead
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Thought You Were Dead

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  964 ratings  ·  245 reviews
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, a ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Algonquin Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Thought You Were Dead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about I Thought You Were Dead

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth SteinMarley and Me by John GroganA Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce CameronWhere the Red Fern Grows by Wilson RawlsThe Call of the Wild by Jack London
Great "Dog" Books
175th out of 724 books — 1,462 voters
Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos MontalvánA Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce CameronDewey by Vicki MyronOogy by Larry LevinMarley & Me by John Grogan
Non-Fiction Animal Heroes
23rd out of 80 books — 144 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,823)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Warning: there is a dog on the cover of this book. There is a dog in the book. There is a dog living in Paul’s apartment, and she is a special dog. Don’t ask me if the dog dies. I already know you don’t want to read another book in which the dog dies. So don’t ask, because the book isn’t about the dog. The book is about Paul. Just as in Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and Susan Wilson’s “One Good Dog” Nelson has pulled the old bait and switch. There is a dog (and I won’t tell you i ...more
Nick Duretta
There's a growing glut of anthropomorphic books narrated by dogs or featuring dogs carrying on human conversations. This is one of them. But, fortunately, this low-key novel is more than just that gimmick, which quickly moves from center stage to become a background element describing a man's journey in recovering from his divorce, alcoholism and damaged relationships with his family. The novel won't knock your socks off, but Nelson's writing is clear and taut and, despite the smart and conversa ...more
Maria Espadinha
Quando a Crise bate à Porta:

À boca dos "entas" Paul vê a sua vida invadida de problemas: é o divórcio, é o pai gravemente doente, é a namorada que anda com outro, é a sua tendência para procurar conforto na bebida...
Enfim, é a crise dos quarenta a bater-lhe à porta!

Mas nem tudo é mau na vida de Paul.
Stella, um misto de Labrador e Pastor Alemão é o seu Sol de cada dia!
Está lá sempre, ouve-o, conforta-o e aconselha-o, guiando os seus passos na direcção certa.

Ao que parece, quando a crise nos visi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andreia Silva
Sempre tive uma estranha fobia a cães. Nunca fui mordida por nenhum, mas também a probabilidade de isso acontecer era muito baixa visto eu nem sequer me aproximar deles. E quando me aproximava fugia! Até que uma cadela me fez mudar isso. E me conquistou! E este livro fez-me pensar nisso. Fez-me pensar no bem que nos faz termos uma amizade com um animal de estimação que parece que nos ouve e que nos compreende e que está sempre lá quer estejamos felizes, tristes ou cansados. A história é linda e ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Lize rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: dogs, 2011
I'm think I'm finally beginning to figure out the arcane code that is 'reviewer-speak', after picking this one up because it appeared to be a funny tale with a talking dog (always a big selling point) and I'd just read four month's worth of depressing stuff (that included child sacrifice and giant spiders) and I really needed a funny story with a talking dog. It was billed as:

"heartwarming, heartbreaking, and heart-wrenchingly funny."

Which means, in order: "you will cry", "you will cry, your nos
Every once in awhile, one finds a book that speaks to them. It's not advertising hype that made one pick it up and read it. Just a quiet little innocuous book with a dog on the front. So maybe it was the dog that made me pick up this book. It's not about the dog tho, it's about relationships. Paul is recently divorced and is sharing his girlfriend, reluctantly, with Stephen. Paul's father has had a debilitating stroke and his older brother still intimidates him as tho he were still a pre-teen. H ...more
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
SO many factors into picking up this book - first you cannot discount the cover. The cover is simple and irresistable. Second, pretty much any book about dogs has me hooked. And third, the main human can talk to his dog?! I couldn't wait to devour this book!
Paul is a single divorced guy, average joe, a writer and doesn't give himself enough credit for his ability, but he's got a wonderful friend named Stella. She, as in most dogs, understands him better than he does himself. Paul's life is throw
Gloria Yarina
Apr 22, 2015 Gloria Yarina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dog lovers
Recommended to Gloria by: Patricia Bloom
This book, I Thought You Were Dead is about relationships, family-brothers, sisters, mom and dad, relationships with friends, male and female, and best of all the very intimate conversations with his dog. Novel is written from a mans' pov and he receives advice from his dog. This interaction is like non other. His dog listens and the man actually understands and takes to heart what his dog is saying. His dog Stella is above all his best friend. Stella is old and Paul is very aware of the needs o ...more
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 tr
Aug 23, 2011 Cayr rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: dogs
Paul is kind of a sad sack. He drinks too much, he can't seem to make his love life work, and he has awkward relationships with his father and brother. The only thing really going for Paul, is his dog Stella.

Nelson asks the reader to accept the fact that Stella and Paul have two-way conversations. Not like the conversations in Kerasote's "Merle's Door", where the author supposes what Merle is trying to tell him, but actual conversations where Paul talks to Stella and she talks back.

Stella is t
Mary Lou
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My disappointment in this book honestly mostly came from the reviews i read which lead me to buy the book. The book was described as "clever, heartwarming, and engaging", "read it and you will fall in love", "a delight", and "hilarious and heartbreaking". Personally, I found it to be none of these things except heartbreaking. I didn't find one line that made me even crack a smile. From the very beginning the mood is very dark and depressing and just when you think the book can't make you any mor ...more
I was reading The Passage by Justin Cronin and needed a break from it's intensity so I picked up I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson. It's a one sitting read and really, just a nice story, great for a hot Sunday afternoon. If you're looking for something sweet and non-threatening this book will fill the bill. It's a love story, written by a male author, which in in itself is a bit unusual. Nelson competes well with his female competition and can be proud of his effort in this genre.

Paul Gusta
Annscm Perrigo
I picked up an arc of this at ALA because of the rep's explanation of the title, "It's what this guy's dog thinks every time he gets home late." Who could resist a come on like that? It sounded like it might have some teen appeal so...

In fact, although there are some really funny spots in this book (most involving Stella the talking dog), there are at least as many heartbreaking or depressing scenes. Talk about mid-life crisis! Paul is a forty-ish man, still reeling from the breakup of his first
Why I wanted to read it: Since I've decided to dive into audio books this year, I have been religiously (seriously) going through Diane (Bibliophile by the Sea) and JoAnn's (Lakeside Musing) past posts about their favorite books they've listened to. Both of these wonderful ladies write such thoughtful and well constructed reviews and they have not steered me wrong. I picked this one from Diane's blog because I'm a huge dog lover and thought the whole concept of a dog being able to communicate wi ...more
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 fi ...more
Jean Zott
I really enjoyed this book.

I thought the story was going to be all about Paul and his dog, but it was much more than that. It was about family and the complicated relationships we all have in our life. It's about dealing with decisions we have made and have to make and it's about making changes in our life that we know we had to make, but either ignore our inner thoughts or are too lazy to do the right thing.

I have had a dog in my home for the past 17 years. Stella reminded me of my yellow lab w
Fuer hermoso.
Jamás había leído un libro con un personaje tan egoísta, egocentrico y adicto que fuera tan agradable.
Por supuesto ame su relación con Stella. Creo que todos los que tenemos mascotas podemos comprender ese amor incondicional, por supuesto fui un mar de lagrimas.
La mejor forma de resumir el libro es con esta cita:

"...te quiero por tu sentido del humor y tu ingenio y porque tienes esa rara mezcla de tristeza y optimismo y ensimismamiento y desprendimiento y locura y seriedad, y no
I gave up on this one. The book is well written and the author definitely has a voice. Judging from other reviews, maybe you need to be more enamored with the idea of a talking dog than I was.

I was 100 pages into the 250 page book, and lost faith that it was going anywhere. I also had difficulty buying into the characters. The conceit of the beautiful successful young woman who for some reason is in love with the out of shape, unattractive and emotionally unavailable older man is a bit tired. Wh
Considering that this story involves a talking dog, I didn't have really high hopes for a meaningful, lasting impression. But I am pleasantly surprised! This is, to me, a story about family. It is also a journey of self for the main character that involves examining and exposing his (mostly failed) relationship dynamics with others in a personal, vulnerable way. I felt that it started out a bit slow and disconnected - didn't seem to be "about" anything in particular, but by mid-way through I was ...more
Tiffany Westlund
After reading the first chapter of I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson, I was ready to put it down and write a single word review of "crap." Not one to give up so easily on a book, I decided to give it a quick scan to see if maybe I might have been to harsh....which, it appears I was. I proceeded finish reading the whole book.

Basically the book is a coming-of-age novel....of a middle aged man. The main character, Paul, deals with aging, the stroke of his father, his relationships with his bro
The book was slow reading at first but it picks up very well near the middle. It's the story of Paul and Stella. How life can change whether you want it to or not. Stella is wonderfully written. Get out the tissues if you are an animal lover but it is a feel good ending.
Dane Jackson
I like Nelson's writing and the book is a good one - I just feel like it's going to be a read that hits a little too close to home for my liking.

I will probably try it again when I'm in a different mindset - but not right now.
Ed S.
Cuántas veces hemos visto en los ojos de nuestros perros una total comprensión de nuestra vida? Quizás sea porque están a lado de nosotros, quizás sea porque nos ponen atención; lo que sí es seguro es que no sabemos escuchados.

En esta historia hay un escritor y un perro que lo acompaño, en el refleja sus miedos y sus inseguridades los problemas que hay con su familia, incluso la búsqueda de pareja. También con su perro aprender lecciones duras como El hacerse cargo de su familia, enfrente de su
Fred Bayley
What a wonderful book. Very touching. Loved this book.
Pete Nelson wrote a story about a middle aged guy going through a series of crises while trapped in a c-level chick lit book.
Paul is the baby of the family, a very whiny man who never really grew up. He keeps complaining about his life and circumstances -- I am really trying hard to like this guy. There is some whimsy provided by his ongoing conversations with his dog Stella who is a much more sympathetic character and Paul shows his better nature in his gentleness with her. There is finally a
Lance Eaton
Pete Nelson’s I Thought You Were Dead feels a bit flat. It mixes a bit of Seinfeld with a bit of self-help and a dash of every none-alpha male sweet-loving, smart, insecure guy cliché. Paul is wishy-washy, whiny, and rather drab all around. He’s divorced; he engages in deep philosophical debates with his dog; and he enjoys drinking with his friends. Of course, his life becomes troubling when his father suffers a debilitating stroke and an onslaught of family stresses begin to fracture; including ...more
Amanda Morgan
Loveable loser Paul Gustavson is forced to re-evaluate his own life when his father has a debilitating stroke, and Paul is asked to help his father learn to communicate again. “I Thought You Were Dead” features the long-standing relationship between Paul and his golden lab/German shepherd mix, Stella.
This relationship seems to be the most successful of Paul’s life. He is a divorced work-from-home writer whose strained relationship with his family is OK because he lives so far away from them. Pa
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 60 61 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Letters in the Attic
  • Dogs and the Women Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Loyalty, Healing, and Inspiration
  • Wrecked
  • Names Will Never Hurt Me
  • Rules for Saying Goodbye
  • My Last Empress
  • Rainy Nights
  • Nose Down, Eyes Up
  • Feathered
  • Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself
  • Born to Bark: My Adventures with an Irrepressible and Unforgettable Dog
  • The Possibility of Fireflies
  • Dogs I Have Met: And the People They Found
  • Leader of the Pack (Tales of an Urban Werewolf, #3)
  • No Buddy Left Behind: Bringing U.S. Troops' Dogs and Cats Safely Home from the Combat Zone
  • Halfway Hexed (Southern Witch, #3)
  • The New Yorkers
  • A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life
Pete Nelson lives with his wife and son in Westchester, New York. He got his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1979 and has written both fiction and non-fiction for magazines, including Harpers, Playboy, Esquire, MS, Outside, The Iowa Review, National Wildlife, Glamour, Redbook. He was a columnist for Mademoiselle and a staff writer for LIVE Magazine, covering various live event ...more
More about Pete Nelson...

Share This Book

“I used to think I knew all the answers. Then I thought I knew maybe a few of the answers. Now I'm not even sure I understand the questions. Nobody knows anything.” 19 likes
“Individual heart cells beat at their own rate when separated from one another, a phenomenon easily observed beneath a microscope. It has long been known that when they are pushed together, they will synchronize their pulses. Recent studies have shown, however, that heart cells begin to synchronize slightly before they touch. It is not known how they signal across this distance. Some scientists speculate that this method of communication may be able to cross great distances and may explain how social animals bond, or how pets seem to sense when their masters are coming home, or even how people fall in love, one heart calling to another.” 8 likes
More quotes…