Assignment 3: Critique

A critique of Sara Campanelli’s “Price’s Mom: The story of how a new pup shaped me.”


“Price’s Mom” is a heartwarming essay. You’ve done a great job conveying the fulfillment, excitement and responsibilities of pet companionship. Price is a very lucky pup.

I particularly like the short paragraph bursts in the middle of your essay explaining who you are now that Price is your charge and responsibility. I also really like the description of Price’s tail wagging and his attempts to stop it with his nipping.

A few recommendations I would make to improve the essay:

  • Add the tagline directly to the headline to draw readers in, e.g. “Price’s Mom: how a new pup shaped me.”
  • Consider breaking the opening paragraph into multiple shorter paragraphs for easier reading on digital and mobile devices.
  • Give me some details about the people and places you mention in this opening paragraph:
    • Where was the house where you picked up Price?
    • Did you find Price through an ad? An adoption agency? A breeder?

“He was so small and he was shaking with nerves and fear – he had just watched all his brothers and sisters leave him one by one and he was the last.”

    •  Was he the runt of the litter? Was the pups’ mom there? How many pups were there? Did you get to choose a pup specifically or was Price chosen for you?
    • Who are your friends? Are they classmates? Roommates? How many went with you?
    • Why did you drive two hours to get Price?
  • Try to replace some of the pronouns with more descriptive phrases or names. There is a lot of reference to “he” before we really get to know Price. Who is “he”?
  • Toward the end of the article, a shift in perspective from the personal may strengthen the relationship between you and Price that you are describing and help you avoid some passive-voice construction.
    • Consider changing:

      “I am greeted every day by a sweet, teddy bear face with round eyes and ecstatic grin…”
      To something like:
      “Price greets me excitedly….”

  • Tell me a little more about Price. What is his favorite treat? Where does he like to go for walks? Consider writing some from his perspective.
  • Referring to Price as “something” seems a little impersonal. “Someone” may be better or pick a trait to describe that embodies Price’s personality in this section.
  • Try breaking the final paragraph up into shorter paragraphs. The final line, “I am Price’s mom.” could be its own paragraph.

I look forward to hearing your critique of my article.