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Book DetailsISBN: 9781742372389
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Book Review: Happiest Refugee by Anh Do - Reviewed by Shelleyrae (04 Jul 2012)
With humour, warmth and spirit, Anh Do shares his journey from a refugee boat fleeing Vietnam to a successful and well known comedian in Australia. The Happiest Refugee won multiple Australian book awards in 2011 and captured the heart of the nation. When Anh was a small child, his family gambled everything in their desire to escape the crippling poverty in Vietnam on a barely seaworthy boat crowded with 40 others. Twice attacked by pirates and on the verge of starvation and dehydration, he and his family were rescued from the middle of the ocean, and via Malaysia, were granted refugee status in Australia. Ahn's family were delighted with their new country, grateful for its kindness and undreamed of opportunities. In a series of anecdotes that are both funny and sad, Anh shares his family's triumphs and failures as they make Australia their home. It is impossible not to admire their willingness to work hard, their love for family and respect for education. Today, the issue of 'boat people' is a political hot potato in Australia, Anh's story puts a face on those nameless desperate souls who risk everything to cross the vast ocean. I was surprised to discover the Anh qualified as a lawyer before taking a chance on a career in comedy, though it is startlingly common amongst male comedians in this country (i.e. Charlie Pickering, Shaun Micallef. Tony Wilson, Steve Vizard). This memoir supports Anh's image as a decent, down to earth man who adores his family and believes in being his best, for himself and others.
The Happiest Refuge is an extraordinary story of hope, resilience and triumph in an ordinary man's life. I was thoroughly entertained, fought back a tear or two and sighed happily as I turned the final page, though Anh has a lot of life yet to live.
Book Review: Happiest Refugee by Anh Do - Reviewed by noverall (30 May 2011)
If you thought Anh Do was just a really funny comic, you’d be wrong. He’s also an award-winning writer, having recently won the Indie Award for the memoir of his eventful life story, The Happiest Refugee.
Detailing his family’s perilous journey to Australia when Do was just two, in a ‘leaky fishing boat ... crammed in like sardines’ and undertaken to escape the difficulties of a life still impacted by the Vietnam War, the book explores his assimilation into a new country and way of life with his typically good-natured form of humour.
Do is a born story-teller and his positivism is contagious. His story is well-told and as moving as it is funny, and he happily discusses the difficulties of fitting in, the divorce of his parents, the pressure to help his family rise above their poverty and the sometimes hard slog on the road to winning Comedian of the Year.
He pokes fun at the trials and tribulations of life in general, as well as his own experiences, in a way that is both honest and encouraging.
Through it all his familial bonds are perhaps what comes through most strongly - from his father, who orchestrated their escape to ‘make a better life’, to his mother who raised three children on her own after his father left when Anh was 13, and his younger sister and brother of whom he is obviously so proud; to his own wife and three sons, as well as the various uncles and aunts, cousins and friends who make up his extended family.
''Rich wins over poor but family is more important than anything else.''
Book Review: Happiest Refugee by Anh Do - Reviewed by AndrewW (19 Sep 2010)
This is a remarkable tale about the strength of the human spirit. You'll laugh and cry as you read a book that I can only describe as remarkable. It gives me a real appreciation for how lucky we are in Australia.
Anh Do is one of Australia's leading comedians. He has also acted in television series and films, written screenplays and is a sought-after keynote speaker.
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