A single mother and her two teenage daughters mix a family memoir with a manual on living a socially conscious life.
The collaboration of Bazinet (Finding My Way, 2016, etc.) and her daughters, Hailey Briggs (co-author: Making It in High Heels, 2015) and debut author Samantha Briggs, is “a guide, a resource, and an example of how one family went about ‘being the change they wished to see.’ ” Over 14 chapters, the authors relate personal stories and lessons learned, with the aim of enlightening and steering others toward advocacy. All three have impressive track records. Bazinet has a background in education, psychotherapy, and life coaching. Both of her daughters have received awards and scholarships for their community, social justice, and environmental work, largely through their involvement with the charity Free the Children. Each author writes sections of the book from her own perspective. For example, Hailey shares her fundraising efforts, at age 13, to build a school in Kenya. Samantha writes about her volunteer work at a seniors’ home. Bazinet adds “a parent’s perspective,” explaining how she aided her daughters or, in many cases, allowed them to try to learn on their own. As she watched Hailey stumble through the opening of her first public speech, for instance, Bazinet wanted to help but ended by doing “what was best for her: nothing!” Bazinet also offers useful tips for other families: “Living life consciously is about taking control of your life,” she writes and briefly discusses topics including practicing meditation, instituting dietary changes, establishing family values and personal goals, and embracing both accomplishment and failure. Like its authors, the book is confident and ambitious. All three are clear and earnest writers, and Hailey and Samantha, given their age, make astute observations about the world and themselves. In fact, their bracing stories of venturing—young, smart, and well-intentioned—into the world are the book’s greatest strength and will likely interest similar-minded teenagers. But the work is so far-ranging in its scope that some of the advice may strike some parents as too vague or facile, especially families with more teen rebellion than seems apparent in the authors’ home.
An inspiring read for young activists; a primer for parents.