The Student's Only Survival Guide to Essay Writing.
Steve Good and Bill Jensen.
Victoria, BC: Orca Book Publishers, 1995. 200pp, paper, $16.95.
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
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.
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