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I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story: 10/03/13

cover art

I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story by Pete Nelson is about the special bond between man and dog. In this case it's a hack writer, Paul, and an aging, talking dog, Stella.

Paul is dissatisfied with his career — he writes for the "For Morons" series. His father has had a debilitating stroke. He's not sure he wants to continue in the open relationship he has with his girlfriend. He might be an alcoholic. And his best friend, Stella, is getting old.

But it's Stella who does the worrying for both of them. And it is she who says, "I thought you were dead," her standard greeting when he's out too late.

And here's where I had trouble with the book — to no fault of Pete Nelson's skill as a writer. In the states, dogs are often treated as furry children. And by extension, when we have conversations with dogs, we do it with a similar tone and limited vocabulary as we do with young children. It's no wonder that were they to answer, we'd expect them to answer somewhat like a young elementary school aged child.

And — that shtick has been done in book (and PBS cartoon), Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh. Having watched many episodes of Martha Speaks with my children, it was damn near impossible to not hear Stella speak in Martha's voice. I also often heard the theme song of the PBS show whenever Paul and Stella were talking.

Three stars

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