cover image Confessions of a Fast Woman

Confessions of a Fast Woman

Lesley Hazleton. Addison Wesley Publishing Company, $16 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-201-63204-0

Eager to write the car column for Lear's magazine from an immediate, concrete viewpoint, Hazleton ( Where Mountains Roar ) undertook to become a racing driver. She did so with great success, and her book infectiously conveys her enthusiasm for speed (``a state of being'') and the sense of freedom it brings. She also has her say about what driving over a track at 200 m.p.h. means to someone raised in a world where women were expected to be passive, docile and either afraid or unwilling to test their strength. After mastering the art of racing, Hazleton worked repairing cars in a small-town garage, finding that the public views mechanics with the same reverence it lavishes on doctors. Finally, feeling guilty about rhapsodizing over cars with internal combustion engines (cars with the worst of all pollutants), Hazleton (who considers herself an environmentalist) cultivated an interest in battery-powered vehicles, which she ambivalently presents as the autos of the future--ecologically responsible, she knows, but ``too divorced from that visceral experience that had come to mean motion and speed to me.'' Her book is a pleasure to read. (Sept.)