Guidelines to Writing the Review


There are formal and informal reviews depending on the needs of the instructor. Reviews are often done about a book, movie, opera, or other creative works. The purpose of a review is to express or evaluate how the writer of the essay feels about the work reviewed. Often it is a personal evaluation something. The writer of the review usually takes an argument or stand about the work he/she is writing the review about.

What is the purpose of the book or creative works? Who are the characters? How does the plot change the characters in the book? What are the themes? What is important about this creative works? How does it affect the essay writer?

Any opinions of the essay writer must have evidence as to why these opinions are made. Whether the review is formal or informal depends on whether it is an analysis, summary or a person's reaction to the creative works. Most formal reviews will show any merit to the creative works. Often reviews are assigned from instructors who want the student to show their ability to write about their feelings and opinions on a specific movie, book, or other types of creative works. Two steps are needed in a review. First, the reviewer should decide what type of argument he wants to present about the review, whether it will be positive comments or negative comments, and why. The reviewer must carefully decide whether they like what they read or saw. What is special about the book or object they are viewing? The opinion of the reviewer about the work and why the reviewer feels the way he/she does should be clearly stated.

The best way to write a review is to brainstorm ideas about the book, the movie, or whatever the review may be on. Do you have positive opinions about it? Why? Do you have negative opinions about it? Why? Once you brainstorm as many statements as positive begin to think about a thesis statement. What evidence can be provided to back up the thesis? What are the main points to be discussed? What evidence can be used to back up the main points?

Create an outline listing the thesis, main points, and conclusion. Begin the introduction with a hook or attention getter such as an anecdote about something that surprised you about the object or book being reviewed. Clearly state the thesis. Next list the main points and state the conclusion.

Write a rough draft. Reread each sentence for clarity. Are you being realistic in your opinions about the book or movie? What are the positive aspects of it? What did you think about the main characters? Look at the opinions you are making and see if you are being too critical? Perhaps you are giving too much credit to some of the characters. What needs to be changed to give a true review of the works that you are reviewing?

Sometimes a quick outline about the positive and negative parts of the movie or book will help in guiding you to write the review. Take one section at a time and dissect it. Rewrite the review after thinking about what you have written. Be honest in your opinions while trying to make statements that will honestly show how you felt.

There are no wrong answers in writing a review because everyone will feel a different way about the object to be reviewed. For instance a review on the Beauty and the Beast may discuss how unrealistic the characters in the movie was. Someone else may discuss how "true" love will not matter as far as beauty. Another person might discuss another part of the movie.

The primary purpose of a movie or book review is to summarize the book or movie while giving one's own opinion about what he/she may be reviewing. Evidence should show why the writer has taken the point of view he/she has taken as well as backing the thesis statement.

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