How to Write a Good Review Essay

By: Sahana.S

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A review essay shows a writer’s feelings and opinions on the major themes and messages that an author tries to pass across in a piece of literature. It is a critical discussion and evaluation of a book where the writer’s opinion about the book is supported by concrete evidence from the book.

While reading the book, read the preface, looking for statement of major purpose, perspective, and themes.Then read the entire book thoroughly. It will make more sense if you have a preview of major themes and ideas.After each chapter, review the main themes and ideas in that chapter and jot down these points.Imagine, as you read the book, that you are having a discussion with the author. Ask questions of the author and see if you are satisfied with the answers in the book.

Reviews should include concise statements of the subject matter, problems, or issues to which the books are directed.Essays should include brief summaries of the authors’ major arguments and conclusions and a discussion of the manner in which they developed their conclusions.Reviews should also include a discussion, with explanations, of the books’ strengths and weaknesses.Finally, no review would be complete without a discussion and explanation of the extent to which each book contributes to our knowledge and understanding of history.

One of the primary criteria by which any written paper is evaluated is its clarity and conciseness of communication. Edit and proofread your paper carefully. It is most unlikely that a “first draft” effort will satisfy this criterion.

Define clearly any key terms used by the author of the book.Provide sufficient examples and evidence to support your conclusions and generalizations.

The review essay should be approximately ten typewritten pages in length. All review essays must be typed and double-spaced in a standard font (preferably 12 cpi), with a 1-inch margin on all sides.

Minimize the use of direct quotations from the book being reviewed. If you must quote the author directly be sure that the quotation is placed in quotation marks and that you indicate the page on which the quotation is found.This is a book review essay, not a book report. Do not simply summarize the books on a chapter-by-chapter basis.

Once you follow these tips, you will realize that writing a review essay is childsplay and not rocket science!

By: Sahana.S

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