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Students find it difficult to do a book review thinking that there is one right way to do it, but there is no one right way to do it.

What a Book Review Is

A book review evaluates and describes a book using critical analysis from the literary viewpoint to determine the quality, significance, and meaning of a book. It is not a retelling or a description of the story or doing a summary. The exercise is designed to develop and hone a student?s analytical skills, which can be applied in future employment.

Fast Tips to Do a Book Review

When you are given a book review, you must carefully assess several things before, during, and after the review.

Before the Review

Author

Before the review, read up on the author. Determine if he has other works to gauge his writing style. If the book is a first novel check out what the critics are saying. If the book is an old literary classic, you can look up the author?s other books to judge his writing style. Has the author won any recognition or awards? What is the author?s writing style? The answers to these questions are critical to the book review.

It is useful to do a thorough research on the author?s background and biography to understand the sociopolitical environment and personal experiences that shaped the author?s beliefs and outlook.

Type of Book or Genre

What is the book?s genre? Is it fictional or based on hard facts? Is it about romance, drama, etc?

Book Title

Is the title appropriate or does it fit in with the story? Oftentimes the title is too revealing or way off tangent and you should be able to comment on this as part of your book review.

Preface

Does the author reveal anything about the book? What is it? If a guest author does the preface, what is the guest author?s judgment?

While Reading

Characters

Who are the main characters? Who are the bad and good guys? What are they like and why and how do they react to situations? You can discover their character traits and personalities by the way other characters describe them. Sometimes you can catch the characters telling you about them and others.

Theme

What is the theme or motif of the story? Does it tackle the revenge theme or the triumph of good forces over evil?

Conflict and Argument

How does the conflict and argument arise and how are these presented and resolved? Is the conflict first stated in the story or is it a result of one?s judgment or situation. Is the conflict within the character?s flaw or external? If the conflict is internal, how is it manifested by the troubled character? Is the character aware of the conflict within? Is the character even aware that there is conflict? Does he discover it, why and how is the conflict discovered?

Writing the Book Review

Deal with the main issues and organize your thoughts. Do you agree or not with the actions and decisions of the major characters? Why?

Establish the background of the story, give a description and brief analysis of the characters, give your evaluation on a few pre-selected points and tell which worked well for you but don?t forget to explore how the book affected you emotionally or logically. For the final draft, format your book review according to your professor?s standards