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Reviews (Descriptive Texts) - Writing
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More?: Descriptive Texts + Descriptive Texts 2 + Your Stuff! - Your Texts - Reviews

Book/Film Reviews, by michelle (2008, rev. 2013) -- there's another explanation here.

Book/Film reviews are examples of descriptive texts. Other examples include travel guides, descriptions of pictures (paintings or photos), of people and objects, restaurant reviews...

Procedure – time yourself in each part!

  • Brainstorming: consider which books/films you could review. Choose one (which) you are interested in. Brainstorm on what you could say about it.
  • Outline. Selecting ideas and Organizing them: do just that! Discard what doesn't fit in. What points do you want to make? Be clear about your Outline = content distribution in the structure!
  • Writing your piece, following your outline. Below are some ideas for content structure.
  • Proofreading/Editing your piece – 2 readings at least, one for coherence and another for grammar & spelling.

Basic Structure of Book/Film Reviews: Title * Gripping Overview * Body * Conclusion - Recommendation

Introduction & Title: Preliminary facts: What is the title or the name of the work? Find an illustrative title (usually the name of the piece). Any other interesting facts about the work? Who is the author? the genre?

Body Strengths and/or weaknesses of the work

  • What will you write about? Brainstorm extensively and organize the content logically.
  • Use a paragraph to describe the different aspects of the work you are reviewing. Comment some of the issues as you describe them, or describe all of the issues and then comment your points. Be careful: save your general assessment for the conclusion. Your description and comments should lead to your conclusion eventually. This is the key for unity in your text. But the conclusion should be fresh, not a repetition of what has been expressed.
  • Start each paragraph with a topic sentence to identify the issue you will be dealing with. Progress in a logical sequence from point to point (spatial, thematic, chronological organization?).

Conclusion: State your overall critical evaluation. You have already discussed the major points, so now you must make an evaluation of the work or place as a whole. Are ideas or services relevant? Who for? Why? Does the author achieve his/her purpose? Is the work significant in terms of human knowledge or for any specific group of readers? What is the most important final comment you wish to make? What has reading this work done for you or demonstrated to you?

Examples:

A very brief book review for a school newspaper:

Matilda, a review by 2MK
This is a book by Roald Dahl.
This is a story about a little girl who has magical powers. She loves her teacher Miss Honey, but is scared of the Principal Miss Trunchbull. She uses her powers to get revenge on the dreaded Trunchbull.
It is a very funny story and one of our favourite Roald Dahl books. We would give this book a 10/10 rating, because it is full of funny events and Roald Dahl uses some great adjectives.

A film review template/outline

  • Name of film
  • Overview on reasons for going to see it (originality, it won a prize…)
  • Some facts: People involved: Director + Actors/Actresses…
  • The story: Where/When the film is set, General plot description (don't ruin the ending!)
  • Your assessment: *Positive points about the film *Negative points
  • Recommendation: Who you'd recommend it to

Notice the structure of reviews and the language they use in newspapers or on the Internet. Bring your clippings to class. Contribute a review to TP!