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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars128
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 November 2010
Although this is perhaps a little disappointing as a record of her career, mainly because she is too polite to be truly candid, it is certainly a revealing and moving account of her private life. Having not read any other books on her, I found all the stories fresh and entertaining, and this serves as a very good introduction to a superb actress's life.
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on 24 October 2010
Really disappointing - readers who buy this are likely to own other books about Judi Dench. Just be prepared to read many of the same stories again - pretty much word for word. Very few new photos too. Not what I was expecting at all. I feel a bit short-changed.
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VINE VOICEon 25 October 2010
I love Judi Dench. From 'As Time Goes By' to all the Shakespeare plays she has done to the James Bond films, I have loved everything I have seen her in. This was the book I have waited all year to read and, boy, was I disappointed.

I did learn some things I didn't know about Judi but I wanted to know so much more. Major events in her life, such as the birth of her daughter, are skimmed over in a sentence. She starred in 'As Time Goes By' for nine years and I think it got little more than a page.

I found myself getting so confused, with all the mentioning of plays, people and places. It all happened so fast. Also, while reading this, I began to wonder if I have a sense of humour. Some of the things she finds hilarious I just didn't get.

Judi does tell us in the book that the public don't have the right to invade every area of her private life and she's right, they don't. However, if you feel this way, why right an autobiography? The letter at the beginning makes me think she is quite angry at having to write this book at all!

I feel I am being slightly generous with the 3 stars, but I do love Judi. The book was readable with some nice pictures, but I found myself becoming bored.
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on 10 May 2011
I love autobiographies and celebrity ones are the best but this one was extremely boring. It consisted of a list of plays that she has been in and a list of fellow actors producers and directors. It could have been written by anyone.There were hardly any references to her private life and, although we dont want a "warts and all" story, a little personal information would have been welcome.
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2011
First of all let me make this clear: I think Judi Dench is THE greatest living actress of our time. I apply that with full force&heart to her career on the stage and also to the very few bits of tv she has graced us with: from 'Talking to a Stranger' through 'Fine Romance' and 'As Time Goes By' onwards to 'Absolute Hell' - a particular favourite of mine - to 'Cranford'.
I don't extend that unqualified praise to her film career in equal measure only because for each "Room With A View" or "A Handful of Dust" or "84 Charing Cross Road" there seems to be a Bond movie or something equally awful or overrated ("Tea with Mussolini"; "Mrs. Henderson Presents" anyone?) to match.

Having said that, of course I bought this book with huge expectations, few of which were fulfilled. The chapters relating to her early career and her life with her husband the great, sublime Michael Williams are interesting, moving, funny and yes, *informative* enough. But elsewhere there are too many facts already known from previous so-called biographies and too many anecdotes that hardly seem worthy of the inclusion.

It is a good autobiography (with a qualified *auto*) but from such a superb actress and human being not quite 'It'.
I hope Dame Judi or her publishers have another go at it(please?)
At least I hope Judi herself does even if I respect her privacy to the point of feeling a little bit guilty about pre-ordering a book where she would potentially bare her soul at all.

If you're like me, you love her and you admire her tremendously. This book will not detract from that. Nor will it add much.
4/5 because it is Judi Dench. 2/5 for actual content.
3 stars it is then
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on 3 January 2011
Warning: this is NOT a book by Judi Dench. It is an "as told to", obviously based on tape recordings - the kind of thing you expect in footballers' so-called "autobiographies". It isn't shaped or edited in any way. Why Dame Judi lent her name to it is a mystery.
Hugely disappointing.
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on 15 November 2011
This has got to be the worst book I've ever attempted to read, I tried my best but half way through I got fed up of reading a list of plays and actors.There is no insight into her life or her emotions( for example about the birth of her daughter/death of her husband and so on ).OK I respect her when she says that her life is private, but why then did she support this biography, leading readers to believe that they were getting an account of her life and wasting good money on a non- read.Compare this book to Julie Walters autobiography and they are worlds apart, Ms Walter's was a joy to read.I'm very disappointed and would advise any fan of hers to save your money and perhaps buy a DVD of one of her films, it will be more enjoyable.
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on 2 January 2011
This book was a great disappointment. I love Judi Dench as an actress, but it reads like nothing more than an inventory of her prodigious output over the years. I am sure she is an intelligent, interesting, loving, loyal and above all fun person, but all this we can only glean by reading between the lines, since she admits to being reluctant to let people into her personal life, which is invariably reduced to almost single sentences, such as 'I married Michael', 'Finty was born', or 'Our house burned down'. I can't help suspecting that, with such an incredibly ambitious workload, there was never much time for a 'personal life' - marriage, motherhood - anyway! But whatever the reason, I wholeheartedly concur with the reviewer who asks, 'Why, then, write an autobiography?' She can't possibly need the money!
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on 14 November 2011
This has got to be the worst book I've ever attempted to read, I tried my best but half way through I got fed up of reading a list of plays and actors.There is no insight into her life or her emotions( for example about the birth of her daughter/death of her husband and so on ).OK I respect her when she says that her life is private, but why then did she support this biography, leading readers to believe that they were getting an account of her life and wasting good money on a non- read.Compare this book to Julie Walters autobiography and they are worlds apart, Miss Walter's was a joy to read.I'm very disappointed and would advise any fan of hers to save your money and perhaps buy a DVD of one of her films, it will be more enjoyable.
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on 18 August 2011
I think that somewhere in this book Dame Judi Dench says it is not always about what happens in the line but what happens between them. To give conviction to a scene you have to understand not just what they are saying but what they are not saying.

Well - this book is a good example of that. What I got from it was that in a day when most actors are unemployed at least a good deal of the time and many for longer than that she has worked non stop since she first started. In fact she has been able to pick and choose jobs deciding to do either/or AND she has made a happy marriage unscathed by scandal or divorce so I can see she had a happy and settled life complete with holidays and family. This tells you a lot about the woman and her happiness. Anyone who has great success with their family life, personal relationships and their career will be happy. She doesn't actually say this in the book but this is what I get from it - and that tells me a fair bit about the woman although I also guess she is someone who loves her career far too much to be a home bod.

But she does give little away as other reiewers have said. This is not surprising as she says she hates it when she is asked personal questions by journalists and even asks why anyone would want to know if she found a play difficult or why she choose a certain project. Well I for one would love to know these things and don't think it is too personal being about her career and not her private thoughts. Note how she tells us about the fire at her house. She gives us very little but really lets us know how much it upset her - this is one of the few really personal insights this gives us about her and it's telling.

But for a jaunt through her long and impressive career with a tiny bit of anecode thrown in - this is a good easy to read book that will tantalise rather than fully satisfy.
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