Writing a Book Critique
Many students face the first challenges of writing a book critique even before they get started. Unfortunately, critique is not the most common school or college task, so to succeed you should first understand what the assignment is about.
Book critique is often taken for a précis, which is a compressed description of the source text. Some students also think that it is a report, which is simply a summary of the plot.
Basically, a critique is a piece of writing, which aims to evaluate and analyze the source book critically. As you understand, it is quite a difficult task and consists of multiple stages and skills.
You won’t find a book critique, which was written by a person, who has never read the source. That is why you should not only possess good writing and analytical skills but also have enough time to reread the analyzed book several times, making notes and drafts.
If you want to succeed, follow our tips. They will help you to create a thoughtful and comprehensive book critique.
Book critique format
As almost any other assignment, a book critique consists of three main parts:
- Body paragraphs;
As you already get from its name, the main goal of this section is to introduce readers to the topic and give them basic information on the name of the author, title of the book, year of its publication, etc. You should also include a thesis: the key idea book’s author is trying to render. It is possible to include several sentences on your own opinion and impressions.
This section is surely the most important part of the whole text and contains all the details you are willing to share.
Start with a summary. Usually, a book critique is read by those, who don’t know the original book. That is why you should provide maximum details on the plot, main topics and discuss organization of the book.
The main goal of your summary is to draw a comprehensive picture of what the source text is about. Luckily, you don’t have to summarize every chapter: just highlight the main points.
After the summary goes evaluation. It is the heart of your book critique, because here you show how well you understand the book and the reasons, which urged the author to write it. Here are a few tips you can use:
- Is the plot logical? Discuss whether you have noticed inconsistencies of plot development;
- Render your own opinion about the book’s characters. Do they look natural? Are they developed? What relationships can you mark? Who are protagonists and antagonists?
- Give more detailed information on text’s language. What language techniques were used? How well the thoughts were expressed? Were there any units, which could be omitted?
- Provide your explanation of book’s ideas. Was the author able to render them to the fullest or were they confusing?
- If possible, write about book’s uniqueness. Was the story interesting and new? Were there any original outlooks and ideas in the text? If you had a feeling the book simply restates someone else’s ideas and characters, include your thoughts to the critique;
- A nice idea will be to write about the social impact of the book. Does it have a lesson to teach? If the source text contains valuable information to enrich knowledge and experience of a certain audience, don’t hesitate to use examples!
- Provide your own opinion on the book. Critique is quite a subjective paper, because you have your own vision and it can’t be influenced. Mention what you liked about the book and what confused you. However, you should always prove your ideas and back them with examples from the text.
The final part of your critique should give the reader an idea whether the book is worth their attention or not. You can compare it to similar books; say if you agree with book’s author and whether you recommend it to the audience.
Now you have all the necessary instruments to write a great book critique. If you have any doubts or have no time to write the assignment on your own, we recommend you to get familiar with examples online. They will help you to stick to the structure and will give the right direction.