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Book review writing, structure to follow

Book review writing: how to criticize the book/author and what structure to follow

May 24, 2013 - Posted to  Book Report, Review Writing
A book review is a way of evaluating the merits of any work of literature. The purpose of the book review is to form an argument about the validity of the work, either for or against it, and then to defend it using valid points and proof to substantiate it. A book review is not just a summary of the literature, nor does it retell the story or information contained within it, it is a way to either agree or disagree with a statement that you make about the writing itself. Any book review must begin with the originating statement , or thesis statement about your opinion, which is followed by the body, which supports of your thesis statement, and then a conclusion, which reiterates the major points made throughout the review.
There are three major components that must be included in any valid book review. They are:
  • There must be a clear summary of the book which outlines the objective of the book, what the content of the book is, and the overall intended purpose of the book itself
  • Included in the review must be an assessment of what you thought of the book. This is where you make your assertions and defend them with evidence from the text to substantiate your claims
  • In the conclusion there must be a statement of who the book was targeted toward, and who would enjoy reading the text.
How a book review should be structured


The beginning of any review must be interesting enough, and entertaining enough, to captivate the audience and to make them want to read more. The first statements of the introduction must grab the attention of the reader and make them want to read more. Using your creativity is important in the introductory paragraph. When writing a book review the most important component of it will be the introduction section which will contain the thesis statement.
In the introduction you must include a summary of the book. This will include the intention and content of the text. It is a brief overview of why the book was written, who the book was written for, and the major content of the book. Also, within the introduction, you will include your thesis statement. The thesis statement, in this context, will be your argument about the work.
It is the basis of the thesis statement which will be the framework for your book review. Being concise about the statement itself is important, as it will be the cornerstone of your entire book review. It is within the thesis statement that you will be forming your argument about what you thought of the book. You will define in the thesis statement your opinion about what you thought of the book and then will be using evidentiary proof to back up your thesis statement throughout the rest of the book review.
The basic components of the introduction are:
  • Opening statements to captivate the audience
  • Summary of the content of the book, or author, you are reviewing
  • Thesis, a statement of your argument


The body is the "meat" of the argument. This is the section where you will be using proof and evidence to back up your thesis statement. The body is the main section of the review where you will, not only extrapolate and form your argument, but will also provide the evidence to back it up. When you form your thesis you will be making a statement about your opinion of the book's content. Although it is an opinion, it is important that you not just make claims, but that you have the proof to back it up. If you make a statement about the book, it is important within the body to use examples, concrete examples, to justify your assertions.
Before beginning the body of your book review it may be beneficial to formulate key components of your argument, making an outline of it, to make it coherent and flowing. An outline is a guide that you will use to write your book review that will keep you on task, and make sure that you complete the components of your argument, step by step, so that it is easy to follow for the reader. By formulating an outline, you can breakdown the argument into sections where you can make a claim and then use evidence to prove it.
When writing the body of the book review it is important that you use both negative and positive points to prove your opinion. After all, if the book were not worthy of positive praise, there is no reason to review, or read, it at all. Likewise, if it were all positive, there is no reason to write anything but how outstanding it was. Stating not only the good, but the bad, is an important component within the body of the book review.
The major components of the body are:
  • Components of your argument
  • Evidentiary and concrete proof to substantiate your argument


The conclusion is where you tie the ideas of your book review into one cohesive argument. It is a restatement of the thesis, followed by the steps which you took to prove your opinion or argument. It is important that within the conclusion you restate your position and hit on the key points that you used to prove it. It is a brief restatement of the entire book review and the argument that you formulated.
When writing your conclusion it is important to go step by step through your book review to highlight the points that you believe are most relevant. It is the section where you conclude your opinion of the book. In the conclusion you should also let the reader know who the book would be enjoyed by, and who the target audience is.
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