The book is in a class by itself in contemporary travel writing. It's not a guide book in the usual sense, nor is it a traditional travelogue.
What Jeannette Belliveau has managed to do is successfully avoid the trappings of the many genres that define how we experience travel. Her Amateur's Guide does not sell the countries it traverses like products nor is it oriented around the self-absorbed first person characteristic of most travel narratives.
Instead, it is committed to the conscientious traveler who questions what it means to move through the world today with a backpack in search of knowledge and understanding, adventure and fun. And while it offers a critical assessment of the economic and political realities that shape the third world, and the role of travel as an industry within those realities, it does so with a rare optimism that can only come from a genuine concern that transcends that of the good Samaritan.