How to write a book review essay?
I have to write an essay on a book “A Struggle for Power: The American Revolution” by Theodore Draper.
The only instructions that my professor gave me: “Write an introduction appropriate to the theme of the book and devise a way to discuss the scope and contents of the book in a creative way, which will allow the reader to get a sense of the subject matter and effectiveness (or lack of) of the author. This should be followed by a summary or assessment of the volume (book) as a whole. Avoid Chapter by chapter summary.”
Can somebody help me find a “creative way” to write a book review essay?
Book review essay is often assigned at literature classes. This is a presentation of this or that book you have read. The way you present the book will influence the reader’s assumption of it. Note that the person engaged in reading your book review most likely doesn’t have any idea of the book. So, do your best to make the reader pick up the book and read it for himself/herself.
My first advice is to write your personal reader’s review. This paper will contain the most important facts about the essay writer, his/her writing style and some significant information about the very book: the main characters, the development of the plot, the problems analyzed and conclusions the author has reached. This review will also contain your personal evaluation of the book.
The reader’s review discussed above will serve as the basis for your book review essay. The only thing left is to arrange the information at your disposal according to the rules of essay writing.
Any essay, and book review essay, in particular, is composed of the following parts: essay introduction, main body and conclusion. So, adjust your book review to this structure.
The style of book review essays is formal; though you are allowed to sound a bit personal to help the reader understand your point. Still, remember, that any idea and finding of yours should be proved by some argument. The latter may be a quotation from the book or someone’s authoritative opinion on the problem. Note that if you apply to some outside resources you should reference them in your book review essay.
I advice you consult your professor about his requirements to book review essay. He or she may not only give you the needed instructions, but can also provide you with some unique information about the book.
A book review is an opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a book. However, a book review is very different than a book report. The main feature of a book report is plot summary; but, in a book review, plot summary is secondary to the analysis of the content and should only be incorporated when it supports the analysis, or in a brief section at the start of the review.
A review is not a judgment on a book or author. It is an evaluation of an author’s work, which should be educated, thoughtful, and supported by evidence and explanations.
An introduction for a book review should include the name of the book, the name of the author, a brief summary of the book, the book’s objectives, overall thoughts about the book, a thesis statement, and a mapping scheme.
A Note on Summarizing the Book:
If a short summary of the book is required (2-5 sentences), then the summary can go in the introduction, before the thesis statement. A longer summary (more than 5 sentences), should be written as a separate paragraph after the introduction.
Whether the summary is included in the introduction or after it, only include information that is relevant to the thesis statement. In-depth details of the book are not required. The objective of the summary is to provide enough information for the reader to understand the context as it relates to the thesis statement.
A book review must include a thesis statement. A book review is designed to tell readers how the reviewer interprets the book by evaluating whether the author met his/her objective. The reviewer also needs to evaluate the claims that the author makes and whether or not those claims are valid. The evaluation of the objective and the claims should be the basis for the thesis statement. The evaluation also needs to be supported by evidence by using specific examples from the book, or using other credible sources to support the evaluation.
A Note on Thesis Statements:
A thesis statement should not be about feelings (e.g. “I really liked this book”), unless explicitly instructed otherwise.
The thesis statement may use a variety of approaches to evaluate a book:
- The significance of a text
“The book provides new insights into economic theory through its consideration of Karl Marx influence.”
- The author’s purpose and whether it was achieved
“The book does not achieve its purpose because it fails to provide sufficient evidence to support it’s claims.”
- How the text relates to the author’s other works
“In this work, the author continues to explore feminism, but unlike his/her earlier works on liberal feminism, this text focuses on radical feminist movements.”
- Why you enjoyed reading it or would recommend to someone
“The book is useful because it introduces new insights into behavourial psychology, and would be of interest to those interested in this topic.”
- How the text fits into a larger theoretical framework
“This text adds to contemporary understandings of early childhood development by creating links between existing theories and new theories.”
These examples are only suggestions. There are several other types of thesis statements that are suitable for book reviews.
Each paragraph of a book review should present a claim to prove the thesis statement and incorporate examples from the text as evidence. Individual paragraphs should not be focused on describing a part of the book.
A variety of elements in a book can be considered for evaluation; the elements under consideration should relate to the thesis statement and mapping scheme. The elements under consideration could include the structure/genre, the theme, narration, the author’s arguments, writing style, images, characters/setting, relation to other research in the same field, use of evidence, format of the book, and use of diagrams/visuals. These are only suggestions, how ever, a variety of other elements may be include in a book review.
The conclusion of a book review should restate the thesis statement, summarize the main points, and offer readers an overall evaluation of the text.
The conclusion should comment on whether the text was successful at achieving its purpose as outlined in the introduction. The conclusion may also comment on whether the text is a worthwhile read and suggest who may benefit from reading it.
- The significance of a text