When you write about the works of others, you attempt to trace their creativity, their focus, their treatment of the subject you actually hone your own writing and creative skills. Book essays like any of the other essays have a general structure. But there is nothing sacrosanct about this. Your mentor may suggest a structure that is different from the general structure. But if no structure is suggested, follow the usual structure. The following is a brief explanation of the structure generally followed. Follow these simple steps and you could end up with a great essay.
As in the case of all essays, this genre of essays also has an introductory paragraph. This paragraph introduces the author devoting no more than a couple of sentences for this. Mention the name of the author and a little about his background. The introductory paragraph should also describe the setting. In this paragraph give a summary of the book. This has to be brief after all this is only an introduction. The objective of this paragraph is to tell the reader about what to expect from the rest of the essay.
Before you actually get down to writing this sort of essay make sure you have a thorough understanding of the book. If required read the book two or even three times. In the body of the essay there is a lot you have to say about the book. The body of the essay is usually three or four paragraphs. And from what you write in these paragraphs your readers can conclude if you have understood the book sufficiently.
In the first paragraph of the body introduce the main characters of the book. You may mention a few words about the personality of the lead players. In the rest of the paragraph describe the conflict in the book. Conflicts can take several forms. It could be a conflict between man and man, or it could be a conflict between man and animal, man and nature or man and the elements. Describe this conflict briefly.
In the remaining two or three paragraphs describe the plot. You will not have the scope to be elaborate about this. Therefore a summary that brings out the essence of the plot will be adequate. Then relate the plot to the conflict in the book. It will require all your writing and creative skills to maintain the same tempo that you will find in the book. Maintain the cadence till you reach the resolution of the conflict, the climax. It is at this juncture that the book reaches its most dramatic moment.
The last paragraph is the conclusion. This is the appropriate place for you to express your personal views on the book. Make special mention of the purpose of the book. State if the author was able to achieve the intended objectives. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the book. Also state your final verdict: Would you recommend this book to others? Use parallels from other books to back your conclusions.