You Will Not Have My Hate
By Antoine Leiris
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 outstanding account of how Antoine Leiris survived the death of his wife in the attack on the Bataclan Theatre in Paris. In this remarkable memoir he talks of adapting to life as a single parent and how he avoided the temptation to blame and hate the terrorists for the death of his wife.
This book was a very emotive read but also an uplifting one. Originally translated from French, this memoir provides a thorough account of a grieving husband and his desire not to let the terrorists win.
Antoine begins the book by describing how he was home looking after his young son Melvil on the night his wife and 87 others were killed. The first he knew of any attack was when he started getting messages asking if he was ok and then one asking if he was safe at which point he switched on his TV and watched with horror as events unfolded.
At the bottom of my screen the news on the ticker that slides past too fast suddenly stops, the end of innocence.
Antoine describes how he tells his boy that his mother won’t be coming home and how he copes with other people’s expectations of his grief.
Antoine’s love for his wife is obvious on every page; one of the most moving passages for me is when he says
The city of lights was extinguished at the same moment that her eyes were closed.
My favourite part of the book is from the open letter he penned on Facebook
“I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. That is what you want, but to respond to your hate with anger would be to yield the same ignorance that made you what you are.”
I also like that he says they will not have his son’s hate either, what a fantastic example to set for his son.
This was a thought provoking and interesting read.
Our Final Rating...
Read & Shared 41 Times.