If you are creating a book critique, you must have a clear vision of what a critique is and what it is not. It is not a précis of a literary work, in which you have to compress the ideas of the original text. It is not a book report either, in which you have to summarize the plot of the writing. The essence of this assignment is in this name – a critique. In other words, your goal is to write a review of a certain book by analyzing and evaluating it critically. Good book critiques are not easy to write because one should take numerous aspects of writing into account. Have you ever read a book critique which looked as if the author had not even seen the book he or she was analyzing? That is not what a good critique of a novel should be like. There are several important steps one should take to achieve a better result.
What Is a Format of a Book Critique?
A critique always has a definite structure: an introduction, a body of the text, and a conclusion. Let’s now look at each section closer.
The name of the section is self-explanatory. In this part, your goal is to provide readers with the following information: the book’s title, the year of publication, the author’s name, and the author’s thesis, e.g. the main point the author is trying to prove. You could also mention what your overall impression of the book is.
The body of your critique contains the most valuable information:
You always have to summarize the book. Your critique might be read by people who are not familiar with the original work, so it is crucial to give enough details about the plot of the novel, to express the main themes, and to discuss how it is organized. Your purpose here is to create a vivid picture of what the book is about to help people understand your own point of view. Remember that there is no need in giving a chapter-by-chapter book summary. You need to summarize the major plot.
This is the most important stage of your critique. Here you are demonstrating your understanding of why the author wrote this book and your own opinion on how skillful he or she is.
- Discuss whether the plot is logical or not. Have you noticed any inconsistencies in the way the event were developing, you everything is absolutely flawless?
- Mention what you think about the characters. Do their motives and behavior look natural? How well developed these characters are? What are the relationships between characters? Are they positive or negative, etc?
- Talk about the language of the text. How do certain language units work in the particular frame? Are there any expressive means? If so, were they necessary or the author could omit them without ruining readers’ impression?
- What is the main idea of the text? Did the author manage to express it fully? Or it was ambiguous and confusing?
- You could also talk about the uniqueness of this writing. Did the author find an interesting story to tell? Has got any original ideas, or there is a feeling that you are already familiar with the book and the characters?
- Another interesting point to discuss is the novel’s social importance. What does it teach its readers? Maybe, this book contains valuable historical or ethnographic information which enriches the audience’s knowledge about a particular country or epoch.
- Express your personal opinion. Since it is a critique, it is a rather subjective piece of writing. Nobody can change the way you think about this book. It happens that you understand all the disadvantages of the work, but, nevertheless, you enjoyed it for a number of reasons. Mention them, prove your point of view – there might be other readers out there who will agree with you.
In conclusion, you need to say whether this book is worth reading and compare it to other books in this field. You can say whether you agree with the author and whether you would recommend this novel to other readers. We hope that this post will help you write a better book critique. If you still feel unsure about writing a critique, it is always a great idea to search for examples and see how professional critics analyze books. Pay attention to how the follow the template we discussed above and try to find you own approach to the novel under analysis. Good luck!