Title: You Will Not Have My Hate
Author: Antoine Leiris
Publisher: Harvill Secker
UK Release Date: 20th October 2016
Genres: Memoir, France, Nonfiction
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On 13 November 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène, was killed, along with 88 other people at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, when three men armed with guns and suicide bombs opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd at a rock concert. Three days later, Leiris, a young journalist, wrote an open letter on Facebook addressed to his wife’s killers. Leiris refused to be cowed or to let his 17-month-old son’s life be defined by Hélène’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,’ he wrote. Instantly, that short Facebook post caught fire. It was shared over two hundred thousand times and was reported on all over the world. In his beautiful and moving defiance of the terrorists who had killed his wife, Leiris became an international hero to everyone searching desperately for a way to deal with the horror of the attacks.
You Will Not Have My Hate is an extraordinary and heartbreaking memoir about how Leiris, and his baby son Melvil, endured after Hélène’s murder. With courage, moral acuity, and absolute emotional honesty, Leiris 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. Leiris is guiding star for us all in perilous times.
To be honest, I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I’d known that it was in existence for a long time, but when I saw it at the library I immediately borrowed it, and read it the following weekend in a couple of sittings. I knew I wanted to review as well, even though I normally stick to YA on this blog, because of how important this book is. It was such a powerful and impactful book, and I don’t even know if there are words for any of it – the poignancy and the pain in the writing, but also the idea of having the power to not give these people what they want: your hatred.