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Evelyn M. Leite

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Author Biography
Evelyn M. Leite, MHR, LPC, is an author, counselor, and trainer with over thirty-five years of experience in the fields of addiction and mental health. Highly regarded for her seminars in multicultural counseling and education she gives special attention to issues with people from varying cultural and ethnic backgrounds. She has designed and implemented many family programs and is proficient in spiritual and grief counseling. A family systems therapist since 1980, Leite incorporates feelings and compassion in the therapeutic relationship with a wide range of experience in chemical dependency, addictions, co-dependency, and domestic, sexual, and spiritual abuse.

A member of Exceptional Keynote Speakers (https://exceptionalkeynotespeakers.com) and a John Maxwell student, she is a soon-to-be a certified John Maxwell speaker. Leite is an experienced, engaging, and sought-after national speaker on her wide variety of mental health and addiction issues, known for bringing clarity, compassion, and practical help to her audiences.

Educationally, Leite holds a composite degree in social science from Black Hills State University and a master’s in human relations from Oklahoma. She also completed her two-year Spiritual Direction Training at Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota. She served as a teacher and trainer for accredited college programs at Oklahoma University and Oglala Lakota College in Rapid City, South Dakota, and an adjunct counselor and consultant to an addictions and codependency treatment center in Port Hueneme, California.
Leite is noted for having attained success in trauma resolution, anxiety and depression, utilizing EMDR, (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a psychotherapy treatment designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. She has published works by Hazelden Education Center, Johnson Institute, and Community Intervention. In 2008 she was installed in the South Dakota Hall of Fame for her exceptional humanitarian work. She and her husband Allen Knapp live in Rapid City, South Dakota.

JUST FINE THANK YOU Cover
BOOK REVIEW

JUST FINE THANK YOU

BY Evelyn M. Leite • POSTED ON Dec. 20, 2019

A memoir gives readers a sense of what it was like to grow up in rural South Dakota in the 1940s; it was not a life for the faint-hearted.

Leite’s given name is Evelyn, but she was called Bubbles for most of her childhood (the book covers her life up to age 13). She was the only girl in the family. Her parents, Lon and Edith Jones, were from quite different backgrounds. But somehow they made a go of it. This was farm life in South Dakota back in the ’40s. Like many other rural families, the Joneses had no electricity and no plumbing. In the summer, they sweltered, and in the winter, they were often snowed in. Mama’s health was precarious, and Daddy sometimes got liquored up, but he was a hard worker, and she made do with what they had. There are strange episodes in the memoir, such as the one focusing on a man named Aldren, who worked for a month, disappeared, came back in his own Piper Cub plane, then left just as mysteriously. There were the scary, proverbial dirty old men, and that trauma is not to be trivialized, but these were brief encounters, and the author recounts that she slipped away, physically unharmed. Her infant brother died, and the wake and funeral coincided with Christmas (and later, Mama had a miscarriage). Leite’s young faith was tested (“Who does God think he is?”). But there were good times as well: county fairs, first crushes, horses for the kids, and pageants at the tiny, one-room school. Yet throughout all this, the author was very insecure and needy for her parents’ love. She sums up her young self as having “a heart full of love and a head full of fear.”

According to Leite, “Dad killed his pain with alcohol. Mom killed hers with the Bible.” Readers will suspect this will be more fully covered in future volumes because this book is the first installment of a series called Blood, Sex, and Tears. In this entry, the author does a good job with the voice of her child self. The style is a bit jumpy: She can be describing a painful rebuke from her father and then suddenly shift to the exciting first day of a new school term. The memoir reads almost like a series of striking diary entries, which is perhaps appropriate. The book sees itself as a contribution to the literature of abuse and healing. Leite is a health professional, and the frontmatter (endorsements, a disclaimer, etc.) paints a very bleak picture of what is to follow. And yet, despite the hard times, the primitive living, Daddy’s drinking, and so forth, many readers will describe this as a loving family—indeed, a closeknit one where “Just fine, thank you” is an act of loyalty rather than emotional suppression. But the very last sentence in the engrossing work gives readers a grim hint of what will be revealed in the coming volumes, when young Leite says: “I can’t know the danger ahead and the destruction that continues to build for our family.”

A vivid and rewarding look at a time and place long gone.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73-354096-4

Page count: 224pp

Publisher: Living With Solutions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2021

Awards, Press & Interests

Hometown

Rapid City, SD

Day job

Addictions and Mental Health Counselor/ Public Speaker

Unexpected skill or talent

poetry

Passion in life

Social Dancing

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE

Dance Like There Is No Tomorrow

Book Two. Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow: Struggling to Belong follows the coming of age journey of Evelyn who moves with her family from the remote woods of South Dakota to a cowboy town in the early 1950s. She could follow her mother’s direction and be docile or she could follow her inclinations to be a fighter. She vacillates between the two before the rebel wins. During this time, she is learning about the magic of alcohol to take away pain. Throughout these formative years she makes a series of attempts to please her distant mother and her alcoholic father, and once in a while it works.
Published: June 19, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7335409-8-8

To Be Somebody

Leite Sample Chapter Book 3: To Be Somebody Chapter Three “Nagging, nagging, always nagging.” Why is Harold screaming at me? I just asked him to make a decision on whether or not we could afford to buy some new curtains for this old place. “If you want new curtains, buy new curtains. You’re the one with the checkbook.” “But, Harold, I need to know if that is what you want. I’m tired of looking at this dump. Maybe we should move.” “Okay, we’ll move, If you want to move, we’ll move.” “Harold, please, I just want you to make the decision.” “Jesus Christ, my decision if to go for a beer.” He grabs his coat and leaves in a huff. I am bewildered; how did that happen? Was I being reasonable? Yes, I guess I was; you can’t expect a man to care about curtains and that was a nasty crack about the “dump.” He can’t help it if we don’t make much money. Maybe if I go to work that will help. That’s it, I can get a job. But the checkbook, I don’t want the checkbook. I have tried several times to give it back but nothing gets paid, nothing gets done, and the money disappears. He always hands it back with a sheepish grin, “I’m sorry, babe; guess I’m just no good at figures.” I resent this a lot especially when I have to juggle a too small income twice as much to fit in what he missed, but I don’t say anything. I am proud he needs me, proud I can do something he can’t. I have lots of mixed emotions about Harold lately. On one hand I feel loved and powerful; on the other I feel used and tired. I try to talk these feelings over Harold but he won’t talk. He says he will let me know when I do something wrong and he does. Sometimes when I insist, he sits down and says, “Okay, talk.” And then he either retreats into his own little world while I talk and he listens, or he says, “Hey, hey baby, it’s not like that,” and decides to make love right in the middle of my most profound statements. It doesn’t take him long to convince me that his idea is better than mine. I tell myself that I am making a big deal out of nothing, nobody could be kinder or sweeter than Harold, except sometimes I wish he would talk to me more. I will make the decisions if that’s what he wants. I will stop nagging if nagging is what it is. I will work on my personality until Harold is happy. I will be the best wife that ever walked. I will take care of the checkbook and I’ll be more careful about cracks about money. “God,” I say, “sometimes I don’t mean to say the things I do, they just pop out. Please help me to be a good person, a good wife. Help me to make Harold happy. Help me to get him to church.” “Harold, today is my birthday.” “I know, babe, Happy Birthday,” Is that all, Happy birthday? No party, no horns, no cake, no presents? No flowers, no notice, just “I know”? “Harold, at our house we always make a really big deal out of birthdays, better than Christmas even.” “Yeah, I see you got about six packages in the mail today. What more do you want?” Hurt is not the word for the way I feel. If I have to tell him what more I want, then I don’t want it. Whoever heard of having to ask for a birthday present? At Christmas it is the same. I sit for hours and glare at him. It was so much fun planning and shopping and hiding and wrapping. But all the presents under the tree are for Harold. “I’m sorry, babe, I didn’t have any money.” Harold wouldn’t think of giving me a gift that cost less than $50.00, therefore I get nothing at all. I am embarrassed to tell my friends. What will they think of me? “Harold, why is it that every time we get in a serious discussion you refuse to discuss it? Why is that every time I get angry you slam out the door? Why can’t we ever just sit down and talk things over?” “Listen to me, babe,” Harold says, “I am not good with words the way you are, and besides, whatever you want I want.” Harold sits with his shoulders hunched, a beguiling look on his face. I go to him and lay my head on his shoulder. “Harold, look at me; maybe you’re happy with the things are but I’m not. We need to get some things settled; we have to talk about bills and feelings and things.” “Goddammit, babe, leave me alone. I am m me anyway?” To the slamming door I scream, “I want you to stand up to me, I want you to be a man, I want you to talk to me. I am tired of having to carry the whole load!” Collapsed in sobs, I wait; he will be back, he always is, and he will be sorry and contrite and I will ask him to forgive me as usual. I will just have to try harder. Money is getting tighter and tighter. Harold’s Air Force pay just doesn’t go around. To make matters worse, one day he comes home with a new watch and a pearl ring for me. Two things I have been wanting for a long time. “To make up for your birthday, babe, and for Christmas.” “Oh, God, how can I get mad at a guy like that?” I try to be grateful, but the rent is due, the bills are piling higher and higher and I am seven months pregnant. Leite Sample Chapter Book 3: To Be Somebody
Published: Jan. 19, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7335409-2-6