A DETRIMENTAL DESIRE AND OTHER STORIES begins with Miranda and her dog Nellie. In a steady tone of woefulness, Miranda fights her mother’s strict discipline in an attempt to rescue Nellie. In the midst, Miranda’s inner weakness for cigarettes kicks in.The second story in the collection, "Found," features Miranda, Nellie, and her mother in a lighter tone. Miranda rebels against her mother’s authority and persists to save Nellie from her mother and the dog pound. With an eye on escaping her testy mother, Miranda strives to put everything together before her mother suppresses her again."Priorities," the third story, follows Eliza in her first days of fourth grade. She informs her mother about calling another girl a baby because she was crying. With her mother’s instruction, Eliza must apologize to the girl. However, Eliza does not expect what happens afterward.