Book Buzz: You Will Not Have My Hate

It was an ordinary Friday evening in Paris, a typical Friday night when the cafes are still busy and the streets are crammed with people on their way to somewhere or nowhere at all, and the air is sprinkled with carefree laughter and theatres are filled with audiences out to enjoy a night of music.

On any Friday night, on every Friday night, this is Paris. But on Friday, November 13, 2015 the lively scene turned into a scene from hell.

You will not have my hate.

The beautiful streets of Paris were bloodied, strewn with carnage and death as terrorists stormed the city. Killing indiscriminately and brutally as they took to the streets, they positioned themselves at heavily populated sites to do the most damage. And at the Bataclan Theatre, where ordinary people were enjoying a concert by the American band, Eagles of Death Metal, the unthinkable happened.

Antoine Leiris, a French journalist, was at home with his 17 month-old son, Melvil, while his wife Hélène was attending the concert. Planning on waiting up for her, Leiris passed the time by reading a book. Then he got a text from a friend asking if he was all right. He turned on the television, and five words scrolling at the bottom of the screen changed his life forever: “Terrorist attack at the Bataclan.”

You will not have my hate.

In just a few hours he would learn that his beautiful wife Hélène lost her life at the Bataclan. Just like that. Gone.

You will not have my hate.


Book Buzz: You Will Not Have My Hate

Grief-stricken, he went on social media a few days later and wrote an open letter to the terrorists who killed his wife. “You will not have my hate,” he wrote.  “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.

“For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom.”

Leiris’ words were seen by millions and shared. His resilience and strength were an inspiration to those of us throughout the world struggling to makes sense out of the most senseless of tragedies.

You will not have my hate.

I will always remember waking up Saturday morning to this terrible news and being stunned into silence. How could this happen? I couldn’t even articulate my feelings, but that Monday I wrote Mourning for Paris to pay tribute to the victims and their families and friends.

You Will Not Have My Hate is a slim volume, just 129 pages. It is honest and raw, and so compelling that you will finish it in one sitting. Leiris begins by recalling the first few days, the shock and disbelief, his overriding concern for his son, his resolute adherence to the normalcy of play, naps, meals, story time. In the midst of visiting the morgue, going through the motions of Hélène’s funeral, and dealing with his  own loss, he was first and foremost his son’s Papa.

Leiris’ story of courage and grace, of finding the will to go on after the most excruciating loss, tells us that while there is no way to understand why evil exists, it is our obligation to honor the memory of the dead — and defy those who would destroy us — by continuing to live.


One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of You Will Not Have My Hate. Please leave a comment and a winner will be randomly chosen.


I received a copy of You Will Not Have My Hate from Penguin for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

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53 Thoughts on “Book Buzz: You Will Not Have My Hate

  1. Oh, this sounds like such a fascinating read, Helene! And an absolutely heartbreaking one. I can’t even imagine this, and hope that none of us ever will. Thanks again for letting me know about another book that’s a must-read.

  2. Heart-rending story and I would love to read it. We are heading for Paris in May. We were planning the trip just as this happened. Sigh.

  3. Truly heartbreaking. I’m crying just reading your review. We need this. The world needs this. Husby works as a Santa over the Christmas season and just after carnage in Paris, a little 9-year-old dancer sat on his lap and, asked, as her Christmas wish, for him make the bombings stop. Santa told her he’d do his best. Then he told her there was something she could do. “Keep on dancing, Natalie! Keep on dancing!” We cannot give in to hate. We must have our happiness and our freedom!

  4. Oh my..this is so hard to read. Not only will I get this book, but I will make it a must for my book club. This is the lesson we have to pass on….we will defy you with our happiness and joy…we will not become who you are. Thank you so much for telling us about this extremely important book. I’m going to share this on Social Media right now. Thanks, Helene.

  5. I remember this but would love to learn more about it. This book would help me to understand.

    • hbludman on October 31, 2016 at 8:40 am said:

      It definitely gives you a personal perspective, Tara. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Oh no. Beyond belief. Nightmare. I feel so sorry for him and his son. What a terrible way to lose your mommy.

  7. So many tragedies in our world Helene but this man sounds courageous and we can learn from his attitude. Thanks for the review and I’ll check out the book. We need to keep the love and laughter going and not let those who wish to destroy it win.

  8. This sounds like a great book. I will have to check it out at my local library to read.

  9. Terri Newmyer on October 28, 2016 at 5:14 pm said:

    I cannot wait to read this book and share it with all of my friends. What an amazing man and father.

  10. It is so sad that this event happened, but such a wonderful message that hate won’t create more hate in this case. Sounds like a good book about forgiveness and positive outlook on life.

  11. This sounds like the kind of book I love to read. I like a suspense story and one that I can really sink my teeth into. Thanks for letting me know about this.

  12. Such an amazing post with a pretty message. That should be a nightmare.

  13. This sounds like a book I will cry through. He sounds like an amazing person, and I am so sorry for his tragic loss – and grateful that he is sharing his story.

  14. Wow, what a powerful read this must be. I admire his courage in putting his story out there, and in refusing to let hate overtake his heart.

  15. Once again, you’ve told me about a book I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Thanks!

  16. What a sad and tragic end for his wife, but it is so lovely to see someone in his circumstances choose to take the upper ground and not descend into hate. There is too much hate in our world today.

  17. Oh wow, this sounds like a powerful read. I need to pick it up.

  18. Really sad, all the tragedies that have been going on here in Europe really touched us here in Vienna. I would love to read this. What a strong and courageous way to move forward.

  19. This is a powerful reminder of a tragic event.
    Having lived in Paris for years and being married to a Frenchman, this attack felt like a personal assault that I wrote about in my own blog
    I admire Antoine’s courage refusing to hate in the face of such a great, tragic, senseless loss. This looks like a poignant read.

    • hbludman on October 31, 2016 at 8:45 am said:

      Yes, I remember your post, Pat. This tragedy deeply touched you and your family.

  20. I can’t believe it has been a year since the attack. I hadn’t heard of this book before, what an amazing stance to have for the terrorist I hope I could be this strong.

  21. I’m at a loss for words. I cannot help but think how hard it must have been for anyone to have that special person taken away from you in just one snap.

    What exceptional character and courage he has in facing the tragedy.

  22. I am not sure I could get through this book. It seems so soon. I applaud the bravery to write about this tragedy.

    • hbludman on October 31, 2016 at 8:47 am said:

      I understand how you feel, Haralee. It is a very sad but also empowering book.

  23. Wow! This sounds like a beautiful book! I really want to read this. I’m going to buy it and hope to have time to read it 🙂

  24. Wow! That sounds like a tough and emotional book to read. I think it would be hard to read.

    • hbludman on October 31, 2016 at 8:48 am said:

      Hard, yes, but also uplifting, since it shows this man’s determination to go on living.

  25. This makes me so sad. I don’t think I could get through this book without crying. He has such an amazing outlook after going through the things he has.

    • hbludman on October 31, 2016 at 8:49 am said:

      In this era of terrorism, his message is important: we will not let them win.

  26. Sounds like a very emotional read. Thank you for the giveaway!

  27. karlyn cruz on October 31, 2016 at 2:03 am said:

    This is really sounds like a good book. I will check this out

  28. This is really very poignant. Love is any day stronger than hate. Hate for hate would see the end of the world. Sane voices which say ‘you will not have my hate’, are the voices of reason. It is because of souls like these the world functions.

  29. Agnes Dela Cruz on November 1, 2016 at 6:41 am said:

    Our world we are living. It is a sad event and an interesting book to read.

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