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You Will Not Have My Hate


You Will Not Have My Hate

Sad and beautiful, Antoine Leiris’ memoir, YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY HATE, is a tribute to his wife, Hélène Muyal-Leiris, who was killed along with 88 other people in a terrorist attack at the Bataclan Theater in Paris, France. He remembers Hélène attentively, muses on his own well-being, and shows a love for his son, Melvil, surpassing the commonplace. This book will inspire you to feel how the penetrating power of love can conquer hate.

In the wake of the tragic events, scores have told Leiris to “Stay strong.” A life sentence of sorts, he knows no person can remain constantly strong. Although the phrase can be painful for him to hear, the thoughtfully human way he tells his story, and his very presence, has given strength to untold individuals around the globe. Three days after the attacks, when he addressed his wife’s killers on Facebook, he resolved that he would defy the terrorists’ wish to respond with animosity --- saying he would not be scared, view his fellow citizens suspiciously, or trade his freedom for security. “That is what you want, but to respond to your hate with anger would be to yield to the same ignorance that made you what you are,” Leiris said, “So, no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you.”

"Sad and beautiful, Antoine Leiris’ memoir, YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY HATE, is a tribute to his wife, Hélène Muyal-Leiris... This book will inspire you to feel how the penetrating power of love can conquer hate."

Unlike the terrorists, Hélène had a free-spirited, worldly nature and loved rock n’ roll. In writing this memoir, Leiris upholds the same liberalized way of thinking and living by which she existed --- carrying her legacy within him and continuing it on with his 17-month-old son. It hurts to read how much Melvil misses the touch of his mother, though it is abundantly clear how her love is carried over after death by memories of her passion and lifestyle. Leiris truly loved his wife very much, and shares reminiscences of how much she meant to him when she lived, and how much she still does.

One of the main takeaways from YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY HATE is the impact the attack had on young Melvil. It seems that Leiris is so absorbed into the experience of being a father that instead of telling the story of that terrible night through his own eyes, he dedicates a majority of the book to reliving the interactions with his son throughout the course of all the difficult times. He always wants to know what Melvil is thinking and feeling, and looks intensely into the needs of his son. Through all the tough and sometimes frivolous experiences dealing with the public, Leiris makes time to communicate with Melvil, play toys with him, or give him a bath, all of which are described at length and with care. He does not want the terrorists to steal the love of his son.

One may wonder if a family can recover from such a tragedy. YOU WILL NOT HAVE MY HATE reveals a long, rough road, but it also emits the healing influence of love between people. Leiris brings Melvil to the cemetery to visit Hélène, and on the way Melvil innocently jumps in a puddle. Sensing his son’s stirring spirit, he jumps in a puddle too, and they are able to rejoice at their companionship in that moment. With the two of them together, they surely will be able to get by.

Reviewed by John Bentlyewski on October 28, 2016

You Will Not Have My Hate
by Antoine Leiris

  • Publication Date: October 3, 2017
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • ISBN-10: 0735222150
  • ISBN-13: 9780735222151