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66 Laps: A Novel Paperback – March 7, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (March 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081299230X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812992304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,747,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Leslie Lehr Spirson's first novel is an old-fashioned morality tale set in contemporary suburban Los Angeles. At the age of 32, Audrey Hastings appears to have it all: a hunky, attentive husband, Jim; a sweet and precocious daughter; a comfortable house with a "small, but perfect" yard. Yet out in the pool where she swims her daily mile, Audrey allows her thoughts to roam below the placid surface of her life, where they linger upon the daily frustrations and insecurities that rapidly conspire to threaten her marriage.

No sooner has she discovered her first gray hairs and tiny crows feet than Audrey begins to suspect Jim of having an affair with his twentysomething assistant, Kim: "Am I sharing him? Did these hands touch her? Is he fighting to keep my name at his lips?" Wounded and obsessed, she strikes up a flirtation with a handsome grad student and soon dives headfirst into a fling of her own. Although Audrey believes that there is hope for her marriage, the fallout from her affair is irreversible and nightmarish, and she ultimately learns that betrayal begins not with the body, but in the mind.

Written in vivid prose and punchy, abbreviated chapters, 66 Laps infuses a familiar domestic landscape with intensity and suspense, focusing on the private moments of satisfaction and doubt that define--and disturb--married life. --Svenja Soldovieri --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Audrey Hastings is a stay-at-home mom who swims a mile--66 laps--every day. For the heroine of screenwriter Spirson's fast-paced first novel, swimming is both refuge and release from the anxiety she feels when her husband, Jim, an art director of TV commercials, takes on a new assistant, Kim. A younger, more attractive version of 32-year-old Audrey, Kim stops by the house frequently, and one day she happens to leave her sunglasses by the pool; soon enough, Audrey suspects an extramarital affair. Further troubled by new gray hairs and a body she is sure is aging too quickly, Audrey finds herself sorely tempted by a young grad student she meets while at the beach with her toddler, Gina. To get back at her husband, and after a too-quick moral stocktaking, Spirson's Everywoman begins an affair of her own. For a while, Audrey feels younger, revitalized, but soon her grad student turns obsessive--and, worse, Audrey discovers she is pregnant. Jim realizes the baby isn't his, and the story line shifts from comedy to tragedy, with Gina cast in the role of innocent victim. If this sounds like a made-for-TV movie, that might not be an accident. Like all screen-ready novels, this one comes equipped with witty dialogue, a lean plot and a few terrific one-liners ("Some women marry the answer to their dreams: I married the antidote to my nightmares"), though some of the prose falls flat ("I looked heavenward for respite"). This novel, picked by John Dufresne for a 1998 Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Award, perfectly mirrors its southern California setting. Though slickly composed and smoothly engaging, on closer inspection, it lacks real substance. Agent, Deborah Grosvenor.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

At the end of each pleasingly short chapter she set the bait for the reader to keep going.
lydia lewis
Not only is the writing style fragmented and irritating, but the dialogue is unbelievable, and the characters are dense at best.
MyAlias
The author was able to draw me into the world of the characters be a part of their thoughts and experiences.
C. Cooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nancy A. Crowley on March 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Once in a great while, a book comes along that touches your every feeling and emotion. Ms. Spirson has managed to make a believable and worth reding book. I felt Audrey's confusion of whether her husband was unfaithful. And when the "younger" man showed her interest, I knew that millions of woman could relate. It all comes down to whether or not we would actually let things escalate from there. A recommended read for everyone who enjoys to escape the normalties of daily living. I would sell this to all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Jennings on July 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Spirson's first novel is a mini-vacation to Southern California. A land of sun and angst, sensuality and sham. Although her story of marraige and fidelity could be told in any part of the country, in L.A. it's film noir. Her prose keeps the reader driven to the conclusion, with a subconscious feeling of watching tornado victims sort through the remnants of their old lives. This is an enjoyable read about believable characters. Better than a trip to the Valley in the hot, fast days of an Los Angeles summer. If you want a taste of living suburban L.A., this is it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lisa vaughan on June 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was gripped by this excellent first novel, and moved by its unexpected ending. Read it! 66 Laps was well-paced, with just the right amount of action to keep readers hooked. I liked the short, sharp chapters -- which would have made the book easy to put down if you needed to, but I was too curious to find out what was going to happen next. The author achieves many high points with her vivid prose. Having moved away from my hometown after high school, I related closely to the author's descriptions of going back home to visit. I loved the main character's eclectic family - the jocky, eternally youthful father; the yakky shrink Mom; the newscaster sister. The depiction of modern-day motherhood was on the mark (if a little short on the quiet desperation, boredom and fatigue many mothers experience), especially Audrey's secret yearning for the power job while she tells her friends how much she loves being a stay-at-home mom. I was particularly enchanted by the way Spirson crafted Audrey's daily swimming routine into the theme of the book, used it as her therapy and safe haven, and ultimately turned it into her downfall. Any swimmer or runner will relate to that rhythm that Audrey sometimes found doing exercise, and that all-powerful feeling it occasionally produced, as well as the frustration of not finding it. As for the plot, Spirson convincingly shows how jealousy and insecurity can cause people to ruin those things they love most. I was shocked and disturbed by the ending, and mulled over the book and its characters days after I finished reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Cooper on June 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I very much enjoyed this novel. The author was able to draw me into the world of the characters be a part of their thoughts and experiences. The character were well developed and I could understand Audrey's thinking, her motivations, and what drove her to her point of destruction. The writing in this novel was supberb. I kept turning pages until I realized I finished half the novel in a day. I was compelled to keep reading to find out what happens next. I love when a writer is able to make me do this.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gabriella Fiore on July 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A friend of mine recommended this book to me. I'm glad I read it so I now know never to pay attention to any of her recommendations in the future. This book was NOT believable. So many chapters describing how much the main character loves her child and husband and only a few pages for her to turn around and decide to have revenge sex with the ice cream man! The synopsis should read " Shallow character, who is easily swept off her feet by cheesy ice cream dude". This book is a bad soap opera in print.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MyAlias on February 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Whoever allowed this woman to publish such a shallow, distasteful story, was a fan of badly written roman novels and every soap opera in existence. I could barely force myself to read though this horrible novel without laughing; Audrey, the protagonist, is nothing more than a projection of the author into her own story.

In short, this is a Mary Sue of epic proportions. The protagonist of the story is so shallow, so egocentric, and so disillusioned that it makes every female in the world look like an idiot. An "independent woman" cliche that needs to end. I'm ashamed to have even read it because if this says anything about the author as a person, then I would never want to have anything to do with her (and I am another woman).

Not only is the writing style fragmented and irritating, but the dialogue is unbelievable, and the characters are dense at best. The next time Spirson decides to publish, someone take away her computer, her pens, and any papers that are nearby; another atrocity masking itself as a good read is not what the world needs.

Drown it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Lacher on June 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Spirson's style and tone of writing. I found it fresh and clean and the format of the novel with it's poem-like chapters was simply great. A very contemporary novel (including its smaller physical size). Hence the three stars.
Unfortunately (and a big unfortunately) I also felt royally manipulated by this story. Why is it that women (especially mothers) have to pay such a high price for their rather minor indescretions? I am SO tired of that morality. It's as if a new mother lay in bed in a rather bad post-partum depression and fantasized about the worst thing that could happen to her family because of her behavior and then wrote a book about it. Extremely self-indulgent. The characters don't grow or change because of their actions and consequences, they just react. I was depressed and irritated by this story. I don't mind a dark story but I do mind a depressing one. If this is marriage in the 90s, no thanks!
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More About the Author

How far would you go to protect your child? That's the question that inspired Lehr to write her new novel, What a Mother Knows. Visit Leslie at www.leslielehr.com and contact her at lesliesoffice@gmail.com

Following the book club favorite, Wife Goes On, Lehr's new literary thriller is the culmination of her experience in the film business and the what-ifs of modern motherhood. Her debut novel, 66 Laps, won the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal. Lehr also wrote the screenplay for the romantic thriller, Heartless. Her writing career began with the humorous nonfiction books, Welcome to Mom, The Happy Helpful Grandma Guide, and Wendy Bellissimo: Nesting, featured on Oprah.

Her popular essays include the New York Times Modern Love Column "How I Got to Here," from Mommy Wars, "I Hate Everybody" lauded on the Today Show, "Parenting Paranoia," excerpted in Arianna Huffington's On Becoming Fearless, and "Welcome to the Club" in The Honeymoon's Over.

The novel consultant for the world renowned Trubys Writers Studio, Lehr is a popular panelist at literary and film conferences around the country. She is a member of PEN, The Authors Guild, WGA, Women In Film, and The Women's Leadership Council of L.A. She is a contributor to the Tarcher/Penguin Series "Now Write" and teaches in the Writer's Program at UCLA Extension. Lehr earned a B.A. from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.

Lehr lives in Southern California, where she continues to explore the dark and light sides of contemporary women.