I have never been a refugee but Anh Do’s book ‘The Happiest Refugee’ made me feel like I was there very step of the way. In the scorching summer of 1976 when Anh’s family and friends decided to board a small, damp and crowded boat it was the biggest decision of their lives. 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. But nothing - not murderous pirates or the threat of death by hunger, disease or dehydration as they drifted for days could stop their desire to make a better life in Australia.
Life in Australia was extremely hard, with endless hours of back breaking labour working for a better life. Anh always had a loving extended family, and always had a roomful of friends to laugh with. Things became very difficult when their father left home when Anh was thirteen. The family 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, as well as 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 Australia’s favourite comedians. ‘The Happiest Refugee’ is a story of tragedy, humour, heartache and absolute determination. Anh's story will move and amuse all who read it.
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