CM December 1, 
1995. Vol. II, Number 7


image The Student's Only Survival Guide to Essay Writing.

Steve Good and Bill Jensen.
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 1995. 200pp, paper, $16.95.
ISBN 1-55143-038-X.

Subject Headings:
English language-Rhetoric.

Grade 12 and up / Ages 17 and up.
Review by Joanne Peters.

The title of this book suggests that a student can grab it in desperation and use it as a life-preserver while drowning in a sea of writing assignments. The cover even depicts a bleary-eyed student atop his word-processor, afloat on a stormy sea.

But Good and Jensen's book is really aimed at the first- or second-year college or university undergraduate who is willing to address seriously the problems involved in the writing of academic essays, long before they face a deadline. The authors make it clear that writing is a time-intensive process, and that students have to invest themselves in the process of analyzing the rhetorical problem they have to solve when faced with a writing assignment.

As such, Good and Jensen assume that the reader of their text will have a fairly high level of motivation, can analyze their difficulties as writers, and have the willingness to really work through the multiple levels of revision and re-thinking necessary make their writing effective. And for such a student, this book, which provides several structural models for shaping most academic writing, could be helpful.

But it is not a useful book for the profoundly disabled writer; working through the book is really a mini-course in what used to be called "freshman composition." The Student's Only Survival Guide to Essay Writing is recommended as a useful supplemental text for composition courses, but it really is not the text for the student struggling to "survive" a writing program. Such a student needs intensive instruction of the sort that probably no text can properly provide.

Recommended with reservations.

Joanne Peters is a librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg.

You can read more about The Student's Only Survival Guide to Essay Writing and get ordering information from Orca Publishers.

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Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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