- Length: 800 - 1,200 words.
- A review should discuss characters, pertinent themes, ideas, aesthetic concerns and rhetorical issues raised by the work.
- A summary of part or all the work (without spoiling it for the reader) should accompany the review.
- The primary task of the reviewer – any reviewer – is to judge the work’s literary merit. The paramount question on the reviewer’s mind should be “Why should anyone else read this book?” All other questions are subordinate to this question.
- Provide salient quotes – at length only when necessary – to give the reader a flavor of the work and an ability to judge what you are stating as a reviewer.
- Use quotations as follows: a.) Introduce the context of the quote; b.) present the quote; c.) explain the quote to the reader d.) show how the quote is pertinent to your argument by proving your point.
- Distinguish between author, narrator and character. To that end, if a character says something unorthodox or even something off-color, that is to judge the character, not the work. If the narrator says something unorthodox or off-color, that is to judge the narrator and not the work.
- Catholic Perspective: A work of Catholic Fiction often includes three aspects: a.) Cultural Catholicism – sacramental life, prayer, Rosary, Adoration, etc. b.) Catholic Moral theme – forgiveness, redemption, sacrificial love, etc. and c.) metaphysical or transcendent movement in the story – God’s Grace at work. All three aspects should be commented on by the reviewer.
In summary, does the book capture the imagination? Is it well written? Is the story infused with the presence of God and faith – subtly, symbolically or deliberately? Would you recommend the work to a reader?
5.0 Dante, Cervantes, or Shakespeare
4.5 Could be a classic
3.5 Very Good