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HALL OF FAMEon 28 November 2002
This biography is a rarity. Its purpose is to share the tremendous career and achievements of Mrs. Judi Dench, and it happily is lacking what biography has often become. It is not several hundred pages of dubious gossip or borderline slander. It is not a litany of innuendo from those who claim some dubious relationship to the subject and then do their best to damage the individual's reputation. If you are looking for gossip-strewn trash, buy history as revised and fictionalized by Kitty Kelly. Mr. John Miller has written a wonderful book about a woman of substance and of great personal and professional merit. Unlike other biographers who survive based upon how low they will sink for tabloid attention, he did not write whatever someone would spew to relate a story that was not there.

Dame Judi's career has spanned a period that has allowed her to work with many of the greatest names of the theatre of the 20th Century. Additionally the actresses, the Directors and Playwrights also read like a list of those most accomplished in their fields. Many fans first met her as "M" in the James Bond Film Series, or as "Mrs. Brown", in her portrayal of Queen Victoria, or Queen Elizabeth in, "Shakespeare In Love". The latter two films won her nominations for The Academy Award and the trend continued this year in Chocolat.

If you are interested in a story of a hard working actress, a woman who is a consummate professional, and respected by virtually all who have worked with her, this book is for you. However if you are like the journalist that opened a press conference by asking her a personal and intimate question, which caused her to rightfully dismiss the press conference format of dirt gathering from that day on, you will have to look elsewhere.

This is a great book about a woman who has succeeded in all areas she chose, and has done so with style and without the sordid notoriety that passes for fame today. Hers' is not a career of 15 minutes or 15, 30, or 45 years, but more like another legend Sir John Gielgud, who when he hit his 90th birthday never thought to pause.

Mr. Miller is to be commended for writing a worthwhile book and not a hardbound tabloid. If he seems less than objective due to the praise he has collected from her peers, it in fact only does "seem" that way. There are accomplished people today who can be admired and pointed to as role models. This book documents one. The other group tends to be long on press clippings and short on substance, but they also unfortunately sell books by the ton to book reading voyeurs.

Mr. Miller has written a work for the other readers.
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on 12 January 2009
Parts of this book are very interesting and supremely funny. This is not a biography (or, at least, not a good one), however, and to call it that is an error. John Miller is Dame Judi Dench's friend, and has clearly written this book with an eye to her approval and favor. Because of this leash on his research, the book is not anything approaching even-handed. The first half is a laundry-list of her early stage roles, and the second is a series of anecdotes regarding a lady I began to refer to as Saint Jude. If Miller is to be believed, she has never set a foot wrong, never been less than generous and perfect, and everyone in the world loves her. Come now. I adore Judi Dench, but there are no perfect people in the world, and that's just a fact.

Even the pranks that Judi pulls onstage, which when read one after the other after the other, take on the sheen of the childish, are mentioned as adorable things that that scamp Judi loves to do to keep her actor friends happy. Backstage tantrums, which are alluded to, only occur because she's so darned concerned about "getting it right," not because she's a human, and therefore inherently imperfect, human being, who sometimes loses her cool.

In addition to the above, this is an incredibly slow read. John Miller is not a particularly compelling writer, and there are times when it takes 30 minutes just to travel 15 pages in her life, because the prose is so stilted and dull.

Judi Dench is the greatest living British actress. There is no disputing that. She is someone with a fantastic sense of humor; someone I'd love to know. She is also human, and I would have preferred to read a biography that explores her less-stellar moments in a more objective way. Judi Dench: With a Crack in Her Voice is not that biography.
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on 21 November 2014
Halfway through this book, very interesting, Judi's humour comes through brilliantly! Really enjpying it. Recommended if like me you are a Judi fan.
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on 19 November 2015
So many insights behind the scenes. A very enjoyable read.
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on 15 May 2015
An enjoyable read.
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on 16 May 2015
Love Judy's books
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on 6 June 2010
I love Judi Dench but felt this book as a bit too sychophantic for me. I was not over impressed with it but still love Dench.
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