A year ago the world looked on in tears as Paris, the City of Light, struggled to come to terms with the terrible events of November 2015. Some of you may remember the very moving open letter that was doing the rounds on Facebook in the days following the attack on the Bataclan. A husband and father coming to terms with the death of his wife at the Eagles of Death Metal concert that Friday night. In the face of such a devastating loss he was able to be positive and forward thinking and hope to instill his baby son with love and good memories of his mother. That letter was written by Antoine Leiris.
This book became part of his coping mechanism, being able to put his thoughts and feelings down on paper and to be able to rationalise what had happened. It sounds like it would be a pretty sad and depressing story and I’m not going to lie, there were parts when my eyes welled up. It is also a beautifully powerful story about one man’s struggle to get through the most difficult period of his life with the responsibility of making sure that his seventeen month old son was kept in the same routine as when Hélène was organising most of his care.
It was the small things that moved me most. The way that she had “edited” his bedtime stories so that there was nothing sinister in them that could disturb little Melvil. The support and concern of the other mothers at Melvil’s nursery making sure that he didn’t miss out on a mother’s love.
This is a book of hope, of a man that refused to let a horrific situation change his relationship with his son and a study in dealing with the worst kind of grief. I’m not sure I could be so stoical and forgiving in the same circumstances.
Supplied by Net Galley and Random House UK in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication Date: Oct 20 2016. 144 pages.