Monday, November 13, 2017 5 helms, Biographies & Memoirs, Reviews

The Happiest Refugee: A Memoir by Anh Do

The Happiest Refugee: A Memoir by Anh DoThe Happiest Refugee: A Memoir by Anh Do
Published by Allen & Unwin on September 1st 2010
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs
Pages: 232
Format: Ebook
Source: Library Book
5 Stars

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.

Reading Challenges:
Good Reads Reading Challenge 2017
Read Harder Reading Challenge 2017 (5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.)

It was pure coincidence I picked Anh Donh’s memoir to feature in my immigrant challenge and it was such a great way to reconnect with Australia after my months of absence. I’ve been wanting to pick this up for an age now and truly glad I read this at my current stage of my life. I’m a proud Australian and so is Anh Do. He pays true homage to Australia and it’s culture and allows us to realise we truly are lucky to be part of this sunburnt country.

Anh’s memoir begins with anecdotes of his childhood and gives us insight right through to his adult years. His family play a major role in his life to shape the man he becomes. Anh’s mom is truly wonder woman with the sacrifices she makes for her kids and the suffering she undergoes to give them a better life. Even though Anh’s dad abandons the family during some of their most difficult times, it was great to read about his redemption from Anh’s point of view. Anh’s love and respect for his parents really shine from the pages, which gave me a few sniffles. I also loved the positiveness of Anh’s family, because no matter what life threw at them, they always had a very positive outlook, which was quite inspiring.

There are so many lessons to take away from this memoir….letting in too many refugees, this is a huge wake-up call to emphasize the poverty-stricken conditions people are risking their lives to escape, just so they can have a chance at a better life.

An emotional, inspiring and uplifting read with a great balance of humour & poignancy with simple yet effective writing to keep you reading late into the night.

About Anh Do

Anh Do is an accomplished writer, actor, producer and stand-up comedian.

After bagging all the comedy awards around town, including the Sydney Comedian of the Year, and appearing on all the TV shows that feature comedians, including “Thank God You’re Here” and “Rove Live”, Anh finally realized that those regular gigs at Rooty Hill bikers club would one day get him killed, so he has supplemented the income with acting, film producing and writing.

2006 saw the release of ‘Footy Legends’ in which Anh was the star along-side Claudia Karvan and Matthew Johns. In 2003 Anh co-produced the film ‘The Finished People’ (Post 75 Productions). It was described by Margaret Pomeranz as ‘one of the best Australian films of the year’.

Even though he is a terrible dancer, Anh got to the grand final of ‘Dancing with the Stars’, being a huge favourite with the voting home audience. This success saw him offered his own TV show ‘Made in China with Anh Do’ – an Olympics special which rated through the roof. Anh has more of his own TV projects in the pipeline.

Anh is also a regular on ‘The Matty Johns Show’ and has been seen on ‘The Footy Show’, ‘Spicks and Specks’ as well as Seachange’, ‘Good News Week’ and ‘All Saints’.

Anh is still one of the most sought after stand-up comedians in Australia. His completely clean material and friendly stage manner makes him one of Australia’s most popular corporate comedians, having entertained clients ranging from The Commonwealth Bank to Hallmark Cards to IBM. He is used again and again as an MC and comic by many companies who enjoy the warmth and joy he brings to an evening.

And right at the end of the biography (cause it’s something he doesn’t like to admit), in 1999 Anh completed a Bachelor of Business and was 6 months away from completing a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology, Sydney. The threat of having to go back to finish his law degree ensures that Anh works hard at his acting and comedy career. So far he is doing superbly.

2018 Reading Challenges

Good Reads

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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