For this assessment, you are to read and review the book ‘A Mother’s Story’, written by Rosie Batty (Batty, R with Corbett, B, 2015 A Mother’s Story, Harper Collins). In this book Rosie Batty shares her experiences of family violence, challenging its hidden nature and highlighting the shame and stigma that are often borne by the victims. Rosie’s personal recount provides insight into the complex and multifaceted issue of family violence and reinforces the message that family violence is a social issue and thus its prevention is a social responsibility.
For this book review, students are required to make connections between ‘A Mother’s Story’ and the family violence literature through identifying and analysing themes related to Rosie Batty’s personal experiences of family violence. Students should be guided by the questions below when planning and writing their book review. This assessment must have an introduction (where you will introduce the book and summarise your book review), discussion paragraphs (largely based on key themes from Rosie’s book), conclusion, and reference list. Supporting resources can be found in the Readings & Resources and Readings by Topic folders.
- Guiding questions to think about when reading the book
- Themes to consider when planning your book review
- A suggested structure for your book review
- Guiding questions to think about when you are reading ‘A Mother’s Story’:
- What was Rosie Batty’s experience with family violence?
- What do you think she hoped to achieve by sharing her story with the world?
- Critically discuss 3 key themes, centering on family violence, which are discussed and analysed, throughout the book.
- Critically discuss the implications of the ways in which family violence in Australia portrayed as a ‘personal matter’ and a ‘social issue’ in Rosie Batty’s story.
When answering these questions, think about events, quotes or extracts from the book that illustrate or are connected to theories and ideas in the literature you have been studying for this unit. Include examples from Rosie’s book, and evidence from scholarly and primary resources, to support and extend your discussion throughout the book review.
- Themes to consider in connecting ‘A Mother’s Story’ to the literature:
- The nature of family violence and the forms it can take.
- How these attitudes have impacted the responses from certain services (legal system, the Police force, support services).
- Why discussion and debate in the public realm is so important when it comes to addressing the issue of family violence.
- Why the eradication of family violence, as well as the support of victims and survivors, is the responsibility of everyone.
These points are to help you think about relevant key themes, which you could include throughout your responses rather than questions that you have to answer.
- Suggested structure for your book review:
The following structure is a suggestion of how students may go about organising information for their book review:
Your introduction/summary should identify the book and provide broad contextual information that will orient your reader. Think about the ‘Guiding Questions’ list above to select information for your introduction and summary. A good introduction will also briefly mention the main points or ideas that will be discussed further in the body paragraphs (for example, the key themes you will be connecting to the literature).
This section should contain the bulk of your writing. This is where you are asked to make connections between aspects of the book and the theories, concepts and policy approaches you have been studying in the unit. The ‘Themes to Consider’ list above points to some areas discussed in the literature that you could focus on and refer to.
As this section is reflective, it is also appropriate to discuss how the book has influenced your personal learning about the topic, but it is also important to include references to scholarly texts and ideas. (For example, it may be that the way Rosie Batty has explained her experience has helped you to understand a concept or idea you have been studying. It could be that her story steers you to particular evidence-based practice or policy approaches.)
When writing a book review, it can be difficult to know how to incorporate your own thoughts and feelings into the text as well as theories or concepts from the readings. See the ‘2015 Book Review’ folder in to see some examples of how students have used the relevant literature to support the discussion throughout their book reviews.
Provide a brief summing up of the most important information you have discussed above. An effective conclusion will emphasise the ‘take home’ messages you want your reader to focus on. It is important that any conclusion in academic writing does not bring any new information that has not already been written about in the main body of your text.
- You MAY use the guiding questions or alternative sub-headings throughout your book review. (These will not go toward your word count).
- You MAY view the A1 assessment folder to see examples of how students have set out their book reviews and used the relevant literature to support their discussions in the past.
- You MUST incorporate relevant literature to substantiate the points you make around Rosie’s experience of family violence.
- You MAY refer to your own thoughts and feelings throughout your review.
- Your book review MAY NOT be more than 1000 words (+ or – 10%).