The author and narrator of The Happiest Refugee, a memoir of his life, in which he recounts the story of his family’s treacherous escape from their native country of Vietnam to Australia shortly after… read analysis of Anh Do
Mother to Anh, Khoa, and Tram, and former wife of Anh’s father Tam. She escaped Vietnam shortly after the end of the Vietnam war with her then-infant sons Anh and Khoa… read analysis of Anh’s Mother
Tam / Anh’s Father
Father to Anh, Khoa, and Tram, and former husband of Anh’s mother. He grew up in extreme poverty in Vietnam, among ten siblings. He is also known as “Four,” given his… read analysis of Tam / Anh’s Father
Younger brother to Anh, older brother to Tram, and son of Anh’s mother and Tam. Born in Vietnam, Khoa was a baby when the family made the dangerous escape from the country… read analysis of Khoa
Younger sister of Anh and Khoa, and daughter of Anh’s mother and Tam. Unlike her brothers, Tram was born not in Vietnam—the family’s native country—but in Australia, where the family finds shelter as… read analysis of Tram
Wife to Anh, and mother of Xavier, Luc and Leon, the three boys she has with Anh. Suzie, blonde and beautiful, is Anh’s fellow student in law school in Sydney. She comes… read analysis of Suzie
Eldest brother to Anh’s mother, and husband to Aunty Huong. During the Vietnam War, he served as a paratrooper and fought alongside American and Australian troops. He endured the Communist re-education camp to… read analysis of Uncle Thanh
Second eldest brother to Anh’s mother. During the Vietnam War, he served as a paratrooper and fought alongside American and Australian troops. He narrowly escapes death when he misses a boat he was meant… read analysis of Uncle Huy
Eldest brother to Tam, Anh’s father. Uncle One was meant to accompany the family on their escape from Vietnam, but was murdered shortly beforehand, when he and his brother Tam met three men… read analysis of Uncle One
Second eldest brother to Tam, Anh’s father. Uncle Two accompanies Anh’s family and other family members on the dangerous voyage of escape from Vietnam, shortly after the end of the Vietnam War. He… read analysis of Uncle Two
Third eldest brother to Tam, Anh’s father. Uncle Three left Vietnam on a boat voyage six months before Anh and his family. On that voyage, he was accompanied by brothers Five, Seven… read analysis of Uncle Three
Younger brother of Tam, Anh’s father. Uncle Five perishes on a voyage of escape out of Vietnam, six months before Anh and his own family flee the country in the aftermath of the… read analysis of Uncle Five
Younger brother of Tam, Anh’s father. Uncle Six makes the voyage of escape out of Vietnam with Anh’s family, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and ends up in Australia with them… read analysis of Uncle Six
Younger brother of Tam, Anh’s father. Uncle Seven perishes on a voyage of escape out of Vietnam, six months before Anh and his own family flee the country in the aftermath of the… read analysis of Uncle Seven
Younger brother to Tam, Anh’s father. Uncle Nine left Vietnam on a boat voyage six months before Anh and his family. On that voyage, he was accompanied by brothers Three, Five… read analysis of Uncle Nine
Mother to Tam, Anh’s father, and nine other children—including Uncles One, Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine. She raises her ten children in… read analysis of Anh’s grandmother
Eldest son to Anh and Suzie. He is happy to start the boat engine with his father when the family takes a boat trip in Bobbin National Park, at the end of the book.
Second eldest son to Anh and Suzie.
Youngest son of Anh and Suzie.
A younger brother to Anh’s mother. He makes the journey from Vietnam to Australia with Anh’s family. He is cheerful, and in Australia grows to have a big gut and “several chins.”
Younger brother of Tam, Anh’s father. He makes the voyage of escape out of Vietnam with Anh’s family shortly after the end of the Vietnam War.
Wife to Uncle Thanh, and sister-in-law to Anh’s mother. She makes the journey of escape from Vietnam to Australia with Anh’s family. On the journey, she is almost raped by pirates who hijack the family’s fishing boat.
The son of a family friend, who accompanies Anh and his family on the sea voyage of escape out of Vietnam. He finds the cramped, oppressive conditions on the boat unbearable, and is unable to handle the psychological strain of the journey. He jumps into the sea, and perishes.
Outlaws who, on two occasions, attack Anh’s family as they make their voyage of escape out of Vietnam on a fishing boat. The pirates steal the family’s valuables and provisions, and inflict terror and violence on them.
The son that Anh’s father Tam has with his second wife, after he abandons Anh, Khoa, Tram, and their mother. Tam names his infant son after Anh, his eldest boy.
Neighbor to Anh and his family in Sydney. She helps the family settle in and find their feet in Australia.
Schoolmate and friend of Anh at St. Aloysius, the high school that Anh attends in Sydney. He helps Anh through school by lending him his textbooks, which Anh can’t afford to buy himself.
A comedian friend of Anh’s, who advises him about pursuing a career in comedy.
Anh’s English teacher in St. Aloysius. She praises Anh’s storytelling abilities, encouragement which motivates Anh to continue his creative pursuits. Twenty years later, he surprises her on a TV show called “Thank You,” to thank her.
A girlfriend of Anh, who lends him money to start a business selling crystals.
A girlfriend of Anh’s, who is vegan. Anh takes up veganism to please her, but then gives it up again when they break up.
A law school friend of Anh’s. He makes fun of Anh for snuggling up to him during a camping trip during which the two friends had shared a tent. He also takes Anh to see a comedy show, which ignites Anh’s interest in comedy.