I've never read "Big Blue," so I'm not as familiar with the style and background as some of you may be, and perhaps some of my comments will be repeats in that vein. (Perhaps not -- this IS a different book.) Anyway, forewarned. =)
That said, WICCA FOR LIFE seems to be a very comphrensive and informative volume. It's full of information that will help you out if you're just getting started, but does not "talk down" to you if you've been with the "Old Religion" for a while already. Much of the suggested wording for various rituals is elegant and meaningful, something I don't find in a great many books about Wicca. WICCA FOR LIFE is about just that: how to live the tenets of the Wiccan faith in all life situations, from birth to death to initiation of children, and most especially how to effectively create and celebrate a hereditary family coven, which is an interesting idea and a neat thing to focus on, although I don't know how many extended families are all Wiccan -- in my experience that's rare.
Unfortunately, the book DOES talk down to non-Wiccans, and to Wiccans about non-Wiccans. It refers to them as cowans, a term I (and others) feel is slightly derogatory and unnecessary. It probably isn't intended that way, but it feels almost cruel. The tone can also get a little sanctimonious -- Wiccan families are more open than others, Wiccan children are better-adjusted than others, etc, etc, etc. Maybe that's true sometimes, but I know for sure that faith isn't the only factor in parenting or in growing up, so blanket statements like that aren't really justified. I was not raised Wiccan, and I think my parents (Christians) were and are wonderful role models. I plan to raise my own children Wiccan, but I will be happy to have their Christian grandparents share their own love and wisdom with my children.
The history in the book is also rather faulty. It doesn't go into depth, but it frequently mentions how Wiccans in "the burning times" wrote down their rituals in books of shadows and how they passed on the information to chosen children, etc. First of all, Wicca is a new religion. There were certainly pagans who went "into the closet" when you could be ostracized or worse for not being Christian, and Wicca does use some beliefs and practices from ancient (notably Celtic) pagan religions, but Wicca itself has only been around since the early-mid nineteen hundreds. Second, the "witches" who were burned were not what we Wiccans refer to as witches or Wiccans today. Some of them may have been wise women and men who were looked upon with suspicion as being "pagan", but for the most part the Inquistion and like horrors were political mechanisms, concerned with a "witchcraft" that was basically a reversed Christianity, and their victims were usually Christian people whose neighbors were harboring a grudge. Third, the author refers to witchcraft and Wicca as the same thing. Not all Wiccans and witches think this way.
In spite of all that, I liked the book, and I'd recommend it for its incredible amounts of accessible and helpful information. Just talk it with a big 'ol grain of purifying salt.
In a literary genre full of commercial hype and uneducated authors, Dr. Raymond Buckland PhD, is heads and shoulders above the rest. He has been a practicing witch for more than five decades and his current book, Wicca For Life, demonstrates the breadth of his vast knowledge of paganism and witchcraft. There are MANY imitations, but there is only ONE Raymond Buckland! This book is a MUST for all pagans regardless of their level of proficiency.