Friday, April 7, 2017

You Will Not Have My Hate - Antoine Leiris

You Will Not Have My Hate
Title: You Will Not Have My Hate
Author: Antoine Leiris
Publication Date: 10/26/17
Pages: 144
Genre: Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: Someone posted about it on Twitter maybe?
Date Completed: 3/17/17

Summary: Antoine Leiris lost his wife and the mother of his young son in the Parisian terrorist attacks. These are his thoughts in the days and weeks following. 

What I Thought: On one hand, this book feels so deeply personal. Leiris bares his heart as he describes his relationship with his late wife and the grief he felt upon her tragic death. He recounts the pain mundane tasks took on and the overwhelming experience of identifying her body and explaining her death to his son. On the other hand, this book feels universal. Love and loss are familiar refrains around the world. Sure, most of us don't loose our partner in an internationally mourned terrorist attack. But the sentiments are still familiar.

Shortly after that terrible night, when his wife was killed in the Bataclan Theatre, Leiris wrote a Facebook post that went viral. Essentially, he wrote it to the terrorists who killed his wife and to the network to which they belonged. He vowed that they would not have his hate, nor the hate of his young son. He proclaimed that the memory of his wife would be one of joy, not of fear. He was determined to reclaim his wife's death as a victory for love, not for hate. 

Leiris includes the post in the book, though most of his writing is about their life together and him trying to re-acclimate to life without her. Honestly, I had hoped for more of the philosophical, more of what made his post go viral. I cannot, however, discount the importance of what he does give readers. He is sharing his story, her story. It, clearly, is a coping mechanism for him and one that allows us all to grieve with him. Still, I wanted more of a message. But, that's on me, I suppose. The title felt a bit deceiving in this regard.

I definitely recommend this one. It's short and easy to read, although it will tear at your heartstrings. As the world continues to fight the battle against terrorism (I am writing this the morning after the Westminster attack in London), Leiris's story is not an unfamiliar one. Yet, his response often is. Giving in to the hate and fear is what the attackers want. Even though Leiris does not seem to have much of a personal faith of his own, his message aligns with that of Christ. Love, not hate. Forgiveness, not fear. 

Quote I Loved: "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 to the same ignorance that made you what you are."

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Yeah, possibly
If You Liked This, Try: Wave / I Am Malala / The End of Your Life Book Club

A Reduced Review: After his wife was killed in the Paris terrorist attacks, Antoine Leiris penned this revealing look into his love for her and his grief. 

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