EASTCHESTER, N.Y ‒ Former Eastchester English teacher Richard Leonard has published his second book, a coming-of-age novel based on his own experiences as a kid in New York City in the '50s and '60s.
Titled "Snapshots in Prose," it's a fictionalized prequel to "Twixtujons," his memoir of nearly three decades of teaching in Yonkers and at Eastchester High School.
"After finishing 'Twixtujons' in 2007 and enjoying favorable reviews from kind former students and friends, I decided to write another memoir called 'Before Twixtujons,' " Leonard said, "but it was too limiting. My early days didn’t make for interesting reading. I changed the title to 'Snapshots in Prose,' and Jamie Lachlan, with a far more exciting life, came to life."
"Snapshots" presents recollections of "a world of neighborhood movie palaces and black-and-white television, old people leaning on windowsills above and children playing on streets below, and teenagers sitting on stoops and car fenders listening to rock and roll on transistor radios."
Leonard began his teaching career in 1969 at Gorton High School in Yonkers. In 1972, he moved to Eastchester High School, where he spent another 28 years teaching creative writing and literature.
"Snapshots" is alive with historical/musical references to Sonny and Cher, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and special moments between boy and girl ‒ investigation, flirtation, desire ‒ each adding texture to the life of the lead character.
"I hope readers will identify with Jamie and his growing pains, and enjoy the time-machine journey to the New York City of the '50s and '60s," Leonard said. "I began the book in 2009, but I’m kicking myself, because I keep thinking of new experiences for Jamie, [and fellow characters] Daniel, the guys, Maddy and Rachel. Maybe that's another book."
Leonard’s books are available at amazon.com. Learn more about the author on his website, www.richardleonard.net.