Review Essay Writing: Simple Tips for Superior Students
While reading the book you are expected to review:
- Read the introduction and, possibly, the preface, which usually includes the purpose and intent of the book.
- Take enough time to read the whole book. You must make notes!
- Once you are done with each chapter, think of how it links to the theme and argument of the entire book.
- Place your book in a context and imagine that you are discussing its contents with a person who actually wrote it. What would you say?
While writing the review essay
- Include an accurate statement of the book, its title, author, place of publication, and purpose of writing.
- Include a brief description of the author's argument and the conclusions to which he or she has arrived in the course of the book.
- Include a thorough discussion of the book's advantages and weaknesses.
- Include a thorough analysis of the way the selected book contributes to the study of your subject.
Do not forget that
- Academic writing, clarity of language, and organization of the paper are some of the principal criteria used by professors to evaluate the quality and grade completed book review essays.
- If there are any terms that may not be understood by readers, explain them.
- Use as much evidence and examples as needed to support your point.
- Your review essay cannot be longer than ten pages.
- All review essays are formatted accordingly, being presented in Times New Roman, 12-point font, with 1-inch margins on all sides.
- Some of the typical examples of book reviews can be easily located online. You will find plenty of free websites containing dozens of downloadable papers and essays written in a review format. However, do not even try to use any of them as your own works. They are provided only as samples that can guide your writing process. Most of them are plagiarized. Therefore, they can threaten your future career, if used for grading.
- Do not use too many direct quotations. Use them only when you see that the value of the direct quotation overweighs the importance of a paraphrase. If you use a direct quotation, you must also include the number of the page on which it is located.
- Review essays are not the same as book reports. Beyond a simple summary, your task is also to analyze the book.
- Do you have any additional information about the book? State it.
- Can you provide additional clarifications to support the book's thesis or theme?
- Can you see the motivation behind the actions of Germans in Auschwitz?
- How being in a concentration camp changed the psychology of prisoners?
- Can you see that the narratives presented within the book do or do not fulfill their literary purpose? If so, what argumentation or evidence can you provide to substantiate your point?
- Can you see how the use of mice and cats as metaphors of the struggles among human beings changes the very essence of human relationships in the book? Can you say with confidence that these reiterations are as vivid as they could be, had humans been the main participants of the story?
- What about comedy and satire? What about the role of humor? Can you evaluate its importance in the context of the selected book? Can you analyze its suitability and appropriateness within the argument presented by the author?
- Holocaust is a huge and very problematic layer of philosophic discussions. Most writers working on Holocaust books have to follow a set of informal rules. Failure to comply with them may lead to ethical and even legal problems. Do you see how the author of the book follows and verbalizes these rules? What are these rules and how do they work for Holocaust writers? Are these rules exhaustive? Should they be changed to allow for a greater space for the writers who want to discuss and analyze Holocaust?