Writing a Critical Review
To write a good critical review follow
Understand the material
Know how to analyze
Follow a structure
A good book review does not have
to be negative; it does have to be
fair and analytical!
Book Review - Structure
• Title and Introduction
1. Title and Introduction
• Mention title and Author
• Brief overview of the topic of text
• Evaluate the importance of topic
Title: Jack Welch, 2001, ‘Jack: Straight from the gut’
Introduction: Jack Welch's memoir, JACK: Straight from the
Gut, is part autobiography and part business theory text.
Welch covers his fast trip from General Electric employee to
General Electric CEO.
2. Body - Summary
Summary of key points
Summary: The book is filled to bursting with anecdotes about the
men and women who work at GE. Spreading the credit liberally,
Welch tells stories of top–flight executives and union production
workers with equal gusto, relishing the successes at every level of
the vast company and its many divisions.
2. Body - Evaluation
Evaluate strengths and weakness of text
Evaluation: This engaging storytelling keeps the book afloat during
extended passages detailing the terms of leveraged buyouts,
contract negotiations, or how GE increased its margins in this or
that industry. However, it is not necessarily a general interest
• Reiterate overall view of text
• State recommendations, if any
Conclusion: If one word could sum up Jack Welch's career at GE it
might be "results“. Those readers expecting a lot of new business
theory or to learn how to repeat Jack's performance by reading
about his secret methodology may be disappointed.
• List of sources/references used
Rob Cline review - ‘Jack: Straight From The Gut’ , 2011
Bradley A. Swope Review, State College, PA USA, 2001
Key questions to write a
What are author’s main points?
What evidence does the author use?
Is the text relevant to the topic?
What is the quality of evidence used by author?
What are strengths and weaknesses of text?
Is the aim of text clearly mentioned?
What are author’s major findings and conclusions?
Is the objective of text obtained?
Bo o k
R ev i ew ’ s
Title / Arthur / Illustrator
Settings and Plots’ Description
Characters I like / dislike ;
Impressive parts / scene
Comments / Recommendations
Before You Begin
• Remember, there is no right way to write a book
review. Book reviews are highly personal and reflect
the opinions of the reviewer.
• A review may be as short as 50-100 words, or as
long as 1500 words, depending on the purpose of the
• Before writing the review, be sure that you
understand what type of review is required for your
• Keep your audience in mind! This will help define the
emphasis you put on various parts of the review.
The Function of a Review
• Your review should do 3 things:
– Describe what is on the page,
– Analyze how the book tried to achieve its
– Express your own reactions to the book.
Summary or Review?
• A book review is distinct from a
summary in that it demands an analysis
of and reaction to content that a
summary does not.
• Whereas a summary is a report of what
is written, a review both reports on and
evaluates a book.
What to Put in A Book
• Identify your book.
• Identify the author.
• Identify yourself.
Identifying the Book
• Be sure to give your readers this
– the author
– the full title
– the publisher
– the place and date of publication
– the edition
Identifying the Author
• Where appropriate, identify the author's
qualifications, and any other personal
information that is relevant to your
discussion of the book. This may apply
more to non-fiction works.
• If you have read other works by the
same author, try to place the book with
reference to the author's other writings.
• People’s reactions to and opinions of a book
will vary according to what they bring to the
book. Let your audience know anything about
yourself which may color your experience of
the book. This may help your readers to
determine how to evaluate your opinions of
– For example, “As a recent graduate student and
new teacher, I found the author’s descriptions of
classroom interaction to ring true, as the students
in the book…”
Ways to Approach the Review
• Outline the contents of the book
• Evaluate and make critical comments on the book
• Use quotations or references to the new ideas in the
book to illustrate your theme
• Compare the book with a similar work by a
• Point out the author's intentions, including the
audience for which the book is intended
• Relate the work to a social or literary trend
Format for book review
Place of publication ___________________ year of publication__________
Pages _____________ Price ______________ Acc.
Subject of the book______________________________________________
Overall impression ______________________________________________