Jess's Reviews > The Happiest Refugee: A Memoir

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do
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Apr 11, 2012

it was amazing

“There are only two times. Now and too late.” - Anh Do

Anh Do nearly didn't make it to Australia. His entire family came close to losing their lives on the sea as they escaped from war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded boat. But nothing - not murderous pirates, nor the imminent threat of death by hunger, disease or dehydration as they drifted for days - could quench their desire to make a better life in the country they had dreamed about.

Life in Australia was hard, an endless succession of back-breaking work, crowded rooms, ruthless landlords and make-do everything. But there was a loving extended family, and always friends and play and something to laugh about for Anh, his brother Khoa and their sister Tram. Things got harder when their father left home when Anh was thirteen -- they felt his loss very deeply and their mother struggled to support the family on her own. His mother's sacrifice was an inspiration to Anh and he worked hard during his teenage years to help her make ends meet, also managing to graduate high school and then university.

Another inspiration was the comedian Anh met when he was about to sign on for a 60-hour a week corporate job. Anh asked how many hours he worked. 'Four,' the answer came back, and that was it. He was going to be a comedian! The Happiest Refugee tells the incredible, uplifting and inspiring life story of one of our favourite personalities. Tragedy, humour, heartache and unswerving determination -- a big life with big dreams. Anh's story will move and amuse all who read it.

This book was fantastic! I was expecting a really comedic book full of his usual funny outlooks, and don't get me wrong, the book was definitely full of his quirky humour, but it was also very touching and full of stories of his childhood. Reading his story made me realise how lucky I am and actually made me feel selfish that I don't do as much for society as he does.

Anh's childhood was full of so many adventures that most of us couldn't dream of, and I loved reading his journey. A great read that I highly recommend!
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