How to Write A Book Review Essay: Professional Strategy

Here is our help article for those who never yet wrote a book review. What is a book review essay? Let us start with a definition. It is a description, analysis, and evaluation of a book that you have read. Usually, it is a work of a critic, but students often submit such critical evaluative essays in class. If you have not yet done this piece of work, read this article to learn how to write a book review essay correctly.

How to Write A Book Review Essay For College Students

Writing a book review is not too hard, but it may have its demands in a college. Here we will talk about how to write a book review essay for college, and this is the type of work that you might do in English, politics or history class. You need to know how to succeed in it to get good marks.

Any writing task needs a start. Let us discuss how to start a book review essay. You should know how to do it right. Before we talk about the book review essay format, take this advice: start with actually reading a book, and think about it. Analyze it, make notes. Think about this:

  • What does the book name suggest?
  • Is the preface, if any, relevant to the book contents?
  • Does the table of contents, if included, reflect the actual contents?
  • What is the book about?
  • Do you sympathize with the main character?
  • Do you like the book? If not, why?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend?

These are only general suggestions. Now let us look at it more closely. Do not confuse it with a report. A just telling what a book is about is not enough here. You should start with an intro. Remember the notes and considerations you have done above. So here you should:

  • Name of the book.
  • Tell who is the author.
  • Tell what is it about. Make it short, no more than a paragraph. Only what reflects your position on the work.
  • Say what are the main goals pursued by the book.
  • Share your ideas about about this book.
  • Include a compelling thesis or your position about this work. It's not about your feelings, for God's sake. Tell about its social meaning, why would you recommend it, does it reflect any global idea. That is an analysis, not just your likes.
  • Finally, briefly about what you will say in your paper.

Now to the format as such. All book reviews are written this way. Remember and look up this structure which makes the format of your review:

  • An intro part, including already described elements.
  • The body where you give proofs to your position or claim. Give any examples from the book, anything that serves as proof.
  • A concluding part where you need to tell your claim and main points in the new words again, and how would you rate the text overall, was it successful, did the author achieve his or her purpose.

Before you start your actual writing, after you have done your reading and notes you should draft a rough outline which will guide you as you write your review. It should in a brief form include all of the above elements, what you will say in each part.

The Book Review Essay Outline Examples: The Great Gatsby

Now let us look at the sample, The Great Gatsby book review essay outline, and look at this book as the illustration and as a subject for a book review. Here we will give an outline of such a work. Remember that a good outline is your best guide in writing. So here it is.

  1. The Intro
    • Present the book and its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
    • Give some background and historical context, The Roaring 20s, 1925, the story in 1922.
    • Mirror of the American society of that time: prosperity, corruption, overspending after the Great War. Much like in Russia in the 90s. Gangsters, La Cosa Nostra, etc. Bootlegging as one of the sources of substantial income, emancipation, free morals.
    • Sum the plot of the book briefly, how Nick Carraway tells it.
    • Thesis: Unlimited appetites may lead to destruction: focus on the main protagonist, Jay Gatsby.
  2. The Body
    • The story of Gatsby, his riches, power, luxury.
    • The story of Nick himself, how he meets Gatsby, how he resists social pressure.
    • Daisy and her husband, Tom Buchanan, how they live: a brutal businessman, and a woman living in a dream world.
    • Old (wealth for generations) vs New money (the newly rich) in East an West Egg.
    • Gatsby in the dock and the green light. The mysterious end.
  3. The Conclusion
    • The rich life corrupts morals, and it is best to stay away from social influence, the book shows this well.
    • A symbolic book, a must to read not only for those who study the American society in the 20s of the past century.

Look at this example, and follow the structure of a book review to do a great job in constructing your own paper. Do not forget to format it correctly, to make notes, to do the outline, and write in all the necessary parts. Good luck!

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