I was approached by Penguin to review You Will Not Have My Hate, written by Antoine Leiris.
I reviewed the advance copy of the story. It’s available for pre-order here on Amazon, and is set for debut in 4 days, on October 25th.
The memoir is a short 129 page read, but gripping. In the story, Antoine’s wife Helene is killed in a terrorist attack in France. Suddenly, Antoine is left a widower. Their seventeen-month-old baby son Melvil cries for his mother, but never gets back. In the light of such tragedy, Antoine writes a powerful letter to the terrorists, “You will not have my hate.” His letter went viral. In his letter, he also says, “There are only two of us -my son and myself- but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.”
“We were like two little Lego bricks that fitted together perfectly,” he says about his wife.
Antoine has to deal with being alone and navigating the left over reality as a single papa. At his son’s daycare, the other mothers rotate making him and his baby homemade soup. Soup that his son does not like to eat. As a result, Antoine simply discards the soup each week.
I love how Antoine writes, “I didn’t have the courage to tell them that Melvil never tasted their homemade meals, and that the little pots could not stay in our house. Maybe this is because, even while still full, sitting on the dresser, these pots nourished our hearts with a sweet, maternal tenderness.”
Antoine’s paragraphs are short but full of emotion. The story is touching but inspiring. It’s a read that makes you yearn for a world full of peace and wish that everyone had Antoine’s courage.