How to Write a Book Review Essay
Publication Date: 01 November 2022
Writing a book review essay is not an easy task. It takes the highest degree of attention, a deep understanding of the text under review, and a solid writing talent. Knowledge of where to find a good book review essay example to get inspiration is also a key prerequisite for success.
To start, for convenience, you need to mark pages with important thoughts in your notebook or make sticker bookmarks in the book itself.
Also, look at the available articles with criticism of the book. In them, you will find many tips on all points of the analysis of a work of art in focus. However, you should never completely rely on someone else’s opinion. If you add your reasoning, you are guaranteed a good grade!
Writing a Book Review Essay – A High-Level Plan
Foremost, a book review essay stipulates the extraction of the most significant and useful information from the analyzed work. To cope with this task, we advise you to act according to a certain plan, check against a decent book review essay example, etc.
- Define the main theme, and the main idea of the book, including the problems raised in it. The problems of the work can be contained in the title itself, in the preface, or the titles of chapters. If the text is read thoughtfully, and carefully, there will also be no problems with the definition of the main idea.
- Describe the composition of the book. As a rule, a novel, story, or romance has a clear structure, according to which the plot develops. It is necessary to determine the main elements of the composition: exposition, plot, development of action, climax, and dénouement.
- Identify the main and secondary acting characters and a description of the techniques with which the author characterizes the characters.
- Determine the style chosen by the author, an indication of the language, and visual and expressive means that the author used when writing his book.
- Complete the analysis with clear conclusions. This can be both a personal reader’s opinion and the assessment of well-known literary critics. The main characteristic of a good book review essay is that the conclusions must be justified.
Writing a Book Review Essay – A Detailed Plan
- The history of the creation of the book. Starting to analyze the book, study the facts from the author’s biography related to the creation of this book. Track the connection with the historical era when the book was written. This information will help you understand the writer’s idea, as well as the problems and spirit of the novel. No decent book review essay example was ever written without this important analysis phase.
- The title of the book and its meaning. In the title of the book, its meaning is most often hidden. This is a kind of what will be discussed in the work. If you manage to crack the author’s idea right from the start – you are guaranteed success and an easy writing process.
- Theme, idea, and problems of the book. The theme in a book review essay is what the book says, while the idea is the essence that the author wanted to convey to the reader. There are also a set of problems in the book that excite the writer. A solid book review essay example would have all these elements clearly outlined.
- Plot, conflict, key episodes of the book. The plot is the sequence and connection between events in a literary work, a kind of grand scheme. It consists of exposition, development of action, climax, dénouement, and postposition, sometimes – prologue and epilogue. The main prerequisite for the development of the plot is time, both in historical terms (the historical period of the action of the work) and in physical terms (the passage of time in the course of the work). Therefore, when you read the text, mark this scheme for your book review essay.
- The system of characters in the book. At this point, it is important to answer who are the main and secondary, positive and negative characters. Analyze the peculiarity of their names, actions and motivations, details of their appearance, and relationships with other characters. Pay attention to the self-characteristics of the characters and the author’s attitude towards them, and ways of expressing it. The main thing here is to confirm your thoughts with quotes from the text.
- Composition of the book. For your book review essay, the composition is the construction of a work, the division of a text into parts. Not a thoughtless fragmentation, but a division following the author’s idea. It is necessary to pay attention to prologues, epilogues, dedications, and their meaning. Note whether there are inserted episodes and lyrical digressions, an epigraph. Here rely on your attentiveness and judgment.
- Artistic means, techniques that reveal the idea of the book. To address this point, look in the literary dictionary at the end of the book. There certainly are definitions of many artistic means and techniques: epithets, comparisons, metaphors, and others. Do not be lazy to look and remember the most common of them to reflect later in your text.
- Features of the language of the book. If the previous paragraph analyzes artistic techniques, then this one analyzes linguistic means (lexical units, syntactic constructions, types of speech, and so on). Look into an available book review essay example to see what linguistic features are used there.
The Bottom Line
Writing a book review essay is not an easy task. At school and college, you work together with your classmates, so it is important to have at least some ideas and opinions to participate in the group discussion of the book. Expressions of your point of view are especially appreciated. Start your book review essay with the words: “It seems to me”, “I think”, “In my opinion”, and so on. That way you develop the ability to build logical chains, speak and write beautifully, which will be useful more than once in life.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a book review essay be?
A typical length of a book review essay is 600-1000 words.
What is the structure of a book review essay?
It follows a normal essay structure, including an introduction, the main part, and a conclusion, though the middle (main) part can be significantly longer than in a normal essay.
Can I quote directly from the book?
Yes, quoting from a book using proper quotation (referencing) style is often used in book reviews.
Where can I find a good book review essay example?
Check your college library (online or offline) to find an ideal book review essay example