Big and Bad: A Novella

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Texas Review Press, 2020 - Young Adult Fiction - 138 pages
"Candy is a tough-talking California teen who can take care of herself, except that she hasn't quite dealt with her own anger with her mother for dying, with her father for being a bully and a drunk, or with her suspicion no one has noticed that she never showed up for sophomore year of high school. Other than that, life's great, until a sarcastic stranger, Carlos, arrives to stay with the janitor's family in Candy's apartment building, forcing her back to the land of the living despite her determination to stay numb, and therefore safe. Bear is a sweet-tempered giant of a dog, the cherished pet of a well to do couple-until their young son dies while in his care. Grief-stricken, the mother abandons Bear at the local shelter, where he is adopted by the teenaged son of a less indulgent family. Bear stays with his new family for several years, adjusting to a less-pampered but still adequate way of life. But when that boy leaves for college, Bear is dumped on a country road and is then adopted by a series of strangers, both kind and cruel. After another stint in the shelter, Bear winds up as a junkyard dog-renamed Big and Bad-and eventually finds himself, nearly broken, sold to a fighting ring, where he rallies just enough strength to try to defend an old friend. Candy's romance with Carlos, and her growing friendship with his family, provides a sweet counterpoint to the chaos she faces every day, living with a father who drinks too much and seems to have lost both his pride and his sense of responsibility. Candy is directionless, but Carlos' ambition and determination inspire her, and his aunt and cousins give Candy a taste of normal family life her father can't provide. She grows so close to Carlos that she's heartbroken and furious when he explains that he has to leave Los Angeles to attend university. Candy's and Bear's stories intertwine only incidentally, until Candy is forced to realize that her once beloved father is not only incapable of caring for her, but is involved in the hideous business of dog fighting. Unable to rely on anyone around her, Candy faces the truth and does her best to rescue the big dog she once delivered into evil hands. The author supports the work of the Humane Society of the United States"--Provided by the publisher."--

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About the author (2020)

ANNA K. SCOTTI's poetry appears in The New Yorker, and her short stories are regulars in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. She has been awarded The Orlando Prize for short fiction, the Pocataligo Prize for poetry, and the Mark Fisher Prize for poetry.

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