The non-linear style of Rebekah Bastian’s first book, Blaze Your Own Trail: An Interactive Guide to Navigating Life with Confidence, Solidarity, and Compassion, may present dizzying challenges for some readers. However, if they bear with her non-conventional approach, I think they will reap considerable rewards by the conclusion of this outstanding work. She gears her book towards exploring female experience and allows readers the opportunity to choose a variety of paths at the end of each chapter. In essence, this is the chronicle of finding your way through adult life and all its attendant joys and challenges. Bastian depicts the twists and turns in a manner comprehensible to anyone and her clear-eyed writing style facilitates that end.


There isn’t an outright personal quality to this text, it isn’t straight autobiography, but it certainly reads as something drawn from Bastian’s personal experience and her observation of what others have went through. The various permutations of what life can mean and where it can lead fuel much of this book. Moreover, she doesn’t skimp on exploring its vast spectrum. This isn’t simply about pursuing a career and all the vagaries a woman experiences in those pursuit; it’s about success and failure in marriage, the resulting joys and sorrows of each ending, the aging of parents and the evolving relationship with them. Despite the apparent novelty of her approach, the scope of her approach is one of the more impressive aspects of this book.

The confidence of her voice despite the aforementioned non-conventional nature of this work is impressive as well. First time authors often come off as tentative or fumbling; nothing like that plagues Blaze Your Own Trail. Instead, there’s an assured sweep to the book despite its less than straight forward style and the reader will never feel like this work comes off as disjointed or unsettled. It isn’t a self-indulgent book – the length is manageable, you can digest it in a single reading, and there’s never any sense of Bastian entertaining herself with improbable moments only she might enjoy.


Despite being a man, I enjoyed the book because it harbors an universality larger than gender. I related at many places to the decisions and experiences Bastian’s protagonist faces, though there are certain limitations. These are, however, quite minor. This element of the book is one of the strongest factors driving my recommendation of this book, but there’s so much more I mentioned earlier. Overall, Blaze Your Own Trail: An Interactive Guide to Navigating Life with Confidence, Solidarity, and Compassion has a wealth of riches within its pages certain to appeal to a wide gamut of readers.

Rebekah Bastian deserves lauded for presenting a work to us that confounds conventionality and helps see life and its variety in a new way. It will prompt reflection from men and women alike, it will speak in an unique way to the latter, and it invites you to return again and again to its pages so you might have the opportunity for exploring it from different angles. This is a singular and unusual achievement worth anyone’s time.

Garth Thomas