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The Happiest Refugee

by 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 a country where freedom existed.

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.

Winner, ABIA Book of the Year 2011

#73 in  Australia’s Top 100 Favourite Homegrown Reads



About Anh Do

Anh’s best-selling memoir The Happiest Refugee has won numerous awards, including Indie Book of the Year and the ABIA Book of the Year, 2011. Anh’s picture book The Little Refugee, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, was named an Honour Book by the CBCA in 2012. Anh’s hugely popular TV show ANH DOES VIETNAM was the highest rated show when it screened last year, and the recent follow-up ANH DOES BRITAIN screened in July, again to huge ratings. Anh has also written two books for younger readers, Weirdo and Weirdo 2: Even Weirder.  



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