Is it too much to ask of a reviewer that he should know what he’s talking about? That the writing be accurate and clear? To quote that unreliable critic, Ezra Pound: “You would think that anyone wanting to know about poetry would do one of two things or both. Look at it or listen to it. And if he wanted advice he would go to someone who knew something about it.” That’s in ABC of Reading, in which Pound separates a knowledgeable author from a lay person. I’m not doing that, but I am making the claim that a good review, if it is to serve any purpose at all, has to take the trouble of telling us where a poem or a novel or a book of stories fits into our cultural life, and then has to tell us how its content is located in its form. If it doesn’t do either, it’s not a good review.
~ Charles Baxter @ fictionwritersreview.com
A number instructors assign or analyze critical reviews as a genre in WR121, so this essay on the form may be useful.