Monday, December 26, 2011

The happiest refugee: a memoir

A list of popular non-fiction books borrowed from the library during 2011 would have to include The happiest refugee by Ahn Do. When he was two Ahn's family left Vietnam on a small overcrowded boat, survived two encounters with pirate boats before arriving in Malayasia and then travelled to Australia. This account of why a Vietnamese family needed to leave their country and their struggles to make a new life in their adopted country is a story of determination and survival. The importance of family, including extended family, is evident throughout the book particularly Ahn's relationship with his mother who brings up three children as a single parent and his reconciliation with his father who left the family when suffering depression relating to events in Vietnam. The book also includes many amusing accounts of how Ahn, the eldest in the family, attempted to earn money to help the family's finances as well as the story of how Ahn became an actor and a comedian. Reading this book there are events that make you cry coupled with many sections that make you laugh out lound. Overall there is a feeling of optimism, hope plus a determination to have a go.  I am glad that I finally had the opportunity to read this book.

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