You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris
Published by Vintage Digital
Ebook Published 20 October 2016
I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
What matters most in life? How do you build a happy life when terrible things happen? What is left behind when you lose the person you love the most?
One night last winter, Antoine Leiris was at home looking after his son while his wife, Hélène, was at a concert with friends. Suddenly he started receiving text messages from friends asking if he was ok. Turning on the TV, Antoine watched the terrorist attacks in Paris unfolding around him and tried to call Hélène. She didn’t answer. That night Hélène was killed, along with 88 other people, at the Bataclan Theatre.
Three days later, Antoine wrote an open letter to his wife’s killers on Facebook. He refused to be cowed or to let his 17-month-old son’s life be defined by their acts. ‘For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,’ he wrote. Instantly, that short post caught fire and was shared thousands of times around the world.
You Will Not Have My Hate is an extraordinary and heart-breaking memoir about how Antoine, and his baby son Melvil, endured after Hélène’s murder. With courage, moral acuity, and absolute emotional honesty, he finds a way to answer the question, how can I go on? This is the rare and unforgettable testimony of a survivor, and a universal message of hope and resilience. This book is a guiding star for us all in perilous times.
Melvil fell asleep without a murmur, as he usually does when his mama isn’t there.
WHAT I THOUGHT
You Will Not Have My Hate broke my heart and made me cry from the first sentence until the last word. Like many people the terrorist attacks in Paris stunned me. In my mind anyway, Paris seemed untouchable, the kind of place where such things never happened. The attack at the Bataclan Theatre changed the world and in the worst possible way. I went to Paris on a trip in 2010 and fell in love with the city of light and my heart goes out to everyone who died at the Bataclan Theatre and their loved ones. I thought I’d never stop crying when Antoine describes trying to tell his 17-month son that his mother isn’t coming home again and how Melvil starts sobbing which set Antoine off. How do you convey such monstrous actions to a child? There are touching moments in You Will Not Have My Hate for example when the mother’s at Melvil’s nursery keep making Melvil home-cooked meals which he doesn’t eat but Antoine can’t tell the mother’s this or their feelings will be hurt. I was also moved when I found out so many people across the world tried to reach out to Antoine and ease even a little of his pain. I read the open letters to his wife’s killers Antoine posted on Facebook through wet, red-rimmed eyes. You Will Not Have My Hate is a memoir that restores your faith in humanity at the same time it bleeds you white. I’m glad it was such a short memoir because I’d have been a wreck otherwise. Antoine is a stronger person than me. If my parter had been killed the way his wife was I’d have let my fury overtake me and would have hunted down her killers and cut them into pieces. You must read You Will Not Have My Hate if your made of human parts.