This handout will help you write a book review, a report or essay that offers a critical perspective on a text. It offers a process and suggests some strategies for writing book reviews. A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon.
Reviews essag consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book reviews. For a similar assignment, see our handout on literature reviews.
Make sure you know the basis for comparison
Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academic journals, they rarely exceed words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries. In either case, reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:. Reviewing can be a writing essay with page limit college humor task.
Someone has asked for your opinion about something that you may feel unqualified to evaluate. The point is that someone—a bokk, a journal editor, peers in a study group—wants to know what you think about a particular work. You may not be or feel like an expert, but you need to pretend to be one for your particular audience. Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of writing, reviews require you to provide concrete how to write a comparative book review essay for your assertions.
Book Review Template
Consider the following brief book review written for a history course on medieval Europe by a student who is fascinated with beer:.
Historically, ale and beer not milk, wine, or water were important elements of the English diet.
The student describes the subject of the book and provides an accurate summary of its contents. As a critical assessment, a book review should focus on opinions, not facts and details.
Summary should be kept to a minimum, and specific details should serve to illustrate arguments. I wanted to know about the wriite surrounding drinking in medieval England: the songs, the games, the parties.
Bennett provided none of that information.
What this handout is about
I liked how the book showed ale and beer brewing as an economic activity, but how to write a comparative book review essay reader gets lost in the details of prices and wages. I was more interested in the private lives of the women brewsters. The reader has a sense of what the student expected of the book, but no sense of what the author herself set out to prove.
Although the student gives tto reasons for the negative review, those examples do not clearly relate to each other as part of an topics for writing argumentative essay 6th grade evaluation—in other words, in support of a specific thesis.
This review is indeed an assessment, but not a critical one.
It combines balanced opinion and concrete example, a critical assessment based on an explicitly stated rationale, and a recommendation to a potential audience. Moreover, the student refers to an argument about feminist history in reviww that places the book in a specific genre and that reaches out to a general audience.
The example of analyzing wages illustrates an argument, the analysis engages significant intellectual debates, and the reasons for the overall positive review are plainly visible. The review offers criteria, opinions, and support with which the reader cojparative agree or disagree.]