Title: You Will Not Have My Hate (2016)
Author: Antoine Leiris
Translated By: Sam Taylor
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir and Autobiography
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: 1st October 2016
“On Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate.” On 13th November 2015, Antoine Leiris’ wife, Helene Muyal-Leiris, was killed by terrorists while attending a rock concert at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, in the deadliest attack on France since World War II. Three days later, Leiris rote an open letter that directly addressed his wife’s killers, which he then posted on Facebook. He refused to be cowed or to let his seventeen-month-old son’s life be defined by Helene’s murder. He refused to let the killers have their way: “For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom.” Instantly, that short Facebook post caught fire, and was reported on by newspapers and television stations all over the world. In this determination to honour the memory of his wife, he became an international hero to everyone searching desperately for a way to deal with the horror of the Paris attacks and the grim shadow cast today by the threat of terrorism. You Will Not Have My Hate is the full story of Antoine Leiris’ grief and struggle.
I wish that this story never had the need to be written. But sadly it did. I had seen Antoine Leiris’ Facebook post after it had been shared around my Facebook friends. As soon as I started reading it I began to cry. The Paris attacks were such a shock and extremely unjustified. I got caught up in the news covering the attacks and was extremely saddened to see brutality on such a scale in our world. I had been talking about Antoine Leiris’ Facebook post the day I heard he was releasing a book and immediately knew I wanted to read it.
I broke down in the first chapter of this book remembering how I felt on the day of the Paris attacks; but the emotions I felt were definitely heightened because as a reader you are placed inside the mind of Antoine whose life was personally and devastatingly affected. I have cried when reading books but not like this. These were tears for someone affected by a terrible attack on such a beautiful city.
This memoir is written as a stream of consciousness as we follow Antoine’s terror of not knowing if his loved one Helene was safe, realising that the worst possible outcome has become a reality and having to look after his child who had always had his mother as a role model figure in the young and impressionable early stages of life.
You aren’t meant to ‘enjoy’ a book like this. It is a memoir of emotions that you hope to never have to feel. Antoine Leiris’ Facebook post was the catalyst that brought the world together against the attackers and made us all stronger and united which was certainly not ‘Islamic State’s’ desire.
This memoir is stunningly written and although it is only a short book of 99 pages, you as a reader are presented with so many emotions and moments that are truly unnerving and despairing.
“I would have liked my first book to be a story, not mine. I would have liked to love the words without fearing them.” This is such a sad sentence to be written in a book. This is a situation that Antoine would never have wished to be in but he coped with it so incredibly. This is a truly touching moment.
This book isn’t enjoyable but it needs to be read. I must take a minute to thank Sam Taylor who translated this book from French to English. I would also like to thank Antoine Leiris for having the strength and courage to not let his wife’s killers take away his happiness, as well as tell the story of his grief and struggle.
I highly recommend giving this book a read as it is an insight into the aftermath of one of the most upsetting and shocking terrorist attacks of our lives.
Thank to Antoine Leiris, Penguin Press and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Until next time,