After three very slow shifts at the pool I bar tend at, I can now say that I can check off a book on my Summer Reading List. Pete Nelson’s I Thought You Were Dead manages to be sweet and frustrating all at the same time. The main character, Paul, is going through a pretty crappy time in his life. He’s divorced, he cannot make sense of his new love interest, and his father just had a stroke. It takes Paul a while to come out of his mopey, unmotivated state, but once he does, you’ll find yourself rooting for him.
While trying to make sense of his past and present problems, Paul talks to his aging dog, Stella. Paul and Stella converse with each other, illustrating the special bond between owner and dog. Nelson does a fantastic job of figuring out what it must be like to think like a dog. He reminds us that humans are the more evolved and complex species but that that doesn’t always mean we know all of the answers. The contrast between Stella (who thinks with her heart and instincts) and Paul (who just over-thinks everything) creates a beautiful double perspective of the story.
All in all, I would say that I Thought You Were Dead is a great summer read. It presents a new outlook (Stella’s) on some sticky situations that everyone can somewhat relate to. The start of the novel may seem slow, but I urge you to stick with it no matter how frustrated you get. It really is a beautiful story, and I will admit, I even cried at one point.