The Big Yank : J.P. SextonThe Big Yank – Memoir of a Boy Growing Up Irish

Life is not easy growing up in dire poverty. More so, if it is in rural Ireland in the 70’s.

Young J.P. Sexton was to find this out the hard way. He went from having a nice roof over his head and plenty of food on the table and toys at Christmas, to living without electricity or running water, in a double-deck bus on the side of a blustery Donegal mountain.

The author’s first job was as a smuggler along the Donegal/Derry border. His father (The Big Yank) made a hefty profit smuggling food from the North of Ireland, into the South and used his three young sons as part of his clandestine operations.

Future ventures were as erratic, if not as profitable. By the time the author had entered secondary (high) school, at 12 years of age, he was already performing duties of an adult male on the run-down family farm.

The memoir introduces the reader to a host of eclectic, if not downright insane family characters, spearheaded by his father – who couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be a cowboy or a songwriter.

His mother was a far cry from any of the other mothers he saw when he visited friends’ homes, but she paled in comparison to her own father – Danny Houton.

The boys’ grandfather was nothing less than a force of nature. His crazy antics, fueled by his love of whiskey and poitin (moonshine), knew no bounds. Up until the day he died, he remained as wild as the wind which blows off the Atlantic Ocean, on the doorstep of his native Malin Head.

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