A book review is a critical evaluation of a text. The purpose of a book review is to make an argument, and the most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not just a summary. A well-written review becomes a dialogue and a discussion with the work's creator and with other people who may have read, or will read, the work. You are free to agree or disagree with the author's point of view and to identify areas where you find the work to be exceptional or lacking in its knowledge, judgments, or even organization of thought.
The point of a review is that someone has asked for your opinion on the book. You may not feel like an expert, but you'll need to pretend to be one. With careful reading and observation, you'll be able to make judgments based upon evidence from the book.
Use the following prompts to focus your thinking as you dig into your chosen book.
Book reviews are typically brief, rarely exceeding 1,000 words. That's roughly the equivalent of three double-spaced typed pages.
Many thanks go out to the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for much of the content in this guide.
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