Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Happiest Refugee

What a lovely little book this is. It's hardly new, I know, but I've just read it after borrowing it from a friend.

I normally wouldn't be interested in a stand-up comedian's book but thought The Husband might quite like it. I decided to have a look at the first few pages - and that was it. I was hooked.

It's the story of Anh Do and his family's escape from Vietnam when the comedian was just two and the lives they made for themselves in Australia. Simply, it's a 'boat people' story told from the perspective of a 'boat-person'.

The horror of their journey is evident and I felt like I was on that rickety boat with them, breathing the putrid air inside the cabin. Their boat was attacked by pirates - twice - yet Do's father still managed to bring 39 refugees to Australia, losing one life along the way.

It's something of a tragi-comedy, and something I think every young Australian should read so they don't become anaesthetised to what the term boat-people actually represents.

The beauty of this book is that it's never depressing, even when the subject matter is incredibly sad. I may not be a fan of Anh Do's comedy routines but I think he's a gifted storyteller. And who doesn't like a happy ending?


  1. Thanks for the prompt. Anh Do was a guest speaker at a work conference several years ago, along with being extremely funny, he was inspiring and articulate. I will definitely read this and on your recommendation pass it on to my 14 year old.

  2. The stories the children are now telling of their families' escape from Vietnam are, as you say, breathtaking. I will watch out for this.