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The Happiest Refugee

My Journey from Tragedy to Comedy

Anh Do    
Format: Paperback - C format
Pages: 240
AUD $32.99inc. GST
The Happiest Refugee


More about this book

The laugh-out-loud, reach-for-your-hanky story of one of Australia's best-loved comedians.


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, Indie Awards, Book of the Year, 2011
Winner, Indie Awards, Non-Fiction Book of the Year, 2011
Winner, Australian Book Industry Awards, Book of the Year, 2011
Winner, Australian Book Industry Awards, Newcomer of the Year, 2011
Joint winner/co-winner., Australian Book Industry Awards, Biography of the Year, 2011
Short-listed, NSW Premier's Literary Awards, Community Relations Commission Award , 2011
Winner, Nielsen BookData Booksellers' (ABA) Choice Award, 2011

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.

ISBN: 9781742372389
Australian Pub.: September 2010
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Subject: Autobiography
Edition Number:

Reader reviews and testimonials

'Thank you so much for writing your book The Happiest Refugee. I could not put it down. To the point where my family left me alone so I could read it as they realised they would not get any sense out of me before I finished your book.  Thank you for your honesty and integrity and for giving so much of yourself in the book.' - Cheryl R

'Anh, I'm typing with tears in my eyes, having just finished your memoir which I absolutely loved; laughing and crying with you in almost every chapter.  Thank you so much for sharing this with us.' - Pam B

'Hi Anh, bought your book and couldn't put it down. I have struggled through the last 14 months and haven't had much too smile about. Then I read your book. You made me laugh and smile again and for that I thank you. Now when I'm having a bad day I pick up your book and read it again. It takes my mind off my troubles and i find myself laughing again. Thank you for giving me a reason to smile again.' - Sharon C

'Eating chocolate and reading your book (for my cafe's book club) on the train. Laughing out loud like a git one page and all teary, with mascara running the next. Can't wait to chat about the amazing journey I feel like I've been on within the pages with my book club friends.' - Phoebe H

'Wow the last 48 hours of my life have been devoted to your book! I would have been able to do it in 12hrs if i didnt have to stop for tissues after the heartwrenching tales of your love for your wife and your family or the outrageous tummy hurting laughter I was overcome with. Anh you're such a Aussie inspiration, your story is so compelling and I am so thankful that you've shared it with us all.' - Tess G

'I just finished reading your book The Happiest Refugee. Thank you for your sharing your story; I found your book to be very inspirational. Your book made me realise "There's now and there's too late" . I feel like I have been standing on the platform for too long; but what am I waiting for? I am now taking responsibility for my life to make it as fulfilling as possible.' - Georgina B

'Thanks for your book, I got it as a last min present for my Dad's 60th, started reading it and could not put it down, Dad's birthday came and went presentless. I'll give it to him next time I see him. Thanks again.' - Meg N

'Hi Anh, Im going through a tough time at the moment. ... I purchased your book recently and gave me some inspiration to not give up and made me feel enlightened with your great humor. Thank you for helping me cope through this tough stage in my life. You are truly a genuine and sincere person who has a heart for everyone.' - Michael I

'Hi Anh, I just finished reading your book The Happiest Refugee. Wanted to let know that you had me crying and laughing all at the same time, it was a great read! Thank-you for sharing your story with us. You made me love my parents even more than I already do.' - Vivienne L

'Hi Anh, I bought the book for my husband but I read it first and I just couldnt put it down, Even walking to and from the train station in the city I would be reading, I was lucky to not be hit by a car :) Your life is truly an inspration.' - Dorita C

'Hi Anh, Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. You've done such a fine job, and you've sung the song of all those who have done what they've had to, in search of a better life. I've laughed and cried along with the rest of your readers.' - Elizabeth C

'Hi Anh, I just wanted to let you know how wonderful and uplifting the book is. So many times I laughed out loud and so many times it brought tears to my eyes. Bravo for writing it. Beautiful story!' - Lilian C

'I suffered 2 late nights reading your book -couldn't put it down - great stuff, so beautifully written and such an amazing story.' - Helen L

'Thank you Anh for writing this magical book, you have changed my view on life so much and given me new meaning to life. Your book is only the second book I have read in 40 years, keep up the good work.' - Mark H