800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us


Non-Fiction - Historical
85 Pages
Reviewed on 11/26/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Wm. Rocky Brown III's 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us is a compilation of aphorisms, adages, and homespun proverbs that offer the wisdom and guidance that have been passed down through generations, giving practical life lessons and observations about human behavior. Brown has pulled these classics together into a single volume with the aim of both preserving and passing on the enduring tradition of wordplay. These range from well-known gems like "Too big for your britches," a still-used saying meaning that someone is acting arrogantly or overestimating their abilities, often considering themselves more important than they really are, to the lesser-known "A dog that will bring a bone will sho-nuff carry a bone," which warns that someone who gossips or spreads rumors about others is likely to engage in similar behavior themselves, so be cautious when dealing with such individuals.

Wm. Rocky Brown III's 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us is straightforward and neatly composed but without an expansion of the saying's meaning, which I quite appreciated as it was something we were able to turn into a game as a family. We parceled out the easier sayings to the youngest, and she was able to tell us the meaning behind "If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch" pretty comfortably. Our teenager took a little more time contemplating "The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice," but she still got the idea that the deeper or more complex something is, the more valuable or rewarding it can be. She also connected it to a celebration of diversity and uniqueness, which made me proud. I have a memory of my grandmother telling my brother that "a woman is like a bus; you miss one, another is coming in minutes," and my grandfather, after 50+ years of marriage, shouting from the next room, “I didn't know that!” I appreciate Brown's hard work and the nostalgia and fun he brought to our weekend. Very highly recommended.

Amy Raines

In 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us by Wm Rocky Brown, 3rd, reminds readers that while growing up, many different people from all walks of life have some very unusual ways of saying what’s on their minds. Sometimes, it’s a simple phrase that carries a lot of meaning. Sometimes, it’s something that comes off as a riddle but has tons of truth to be found in it. Then, of course, there are some ways to say certain things that may sound funny or downright wacky. Either way, it goes, there’s a lot to be said about making a point by using phrases that you might have heard in your childhood.

In 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us, you will find sayings and phrases that you may or may not have heard before. With so many different sayings, it’s easy to discover something that is familiar or hear something completely new. I loved the dive into such an unusual, culturally rich book that took me back to the days when older family members and their friends spoke in a way that made me wonder exactly what they meant. This collection of sayings and phrases is not your typical book, but it does take the reader into a world that is deeply rooted. I recommend 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us by Wm Rocky Brown, 3rd, to anyone who enjoys learning different ways of speaking that will bring on feelings of nostalgia. This is a one-of-a-kind collection that is both enlightening and entertaining.

Philip Van Heusen

If you grew up in the 50s, 60s, or even the 70s, you will love 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us by Wm. Rocky Brown, 3rd. As the title suggests, he has compiled 800 sayings that used to be very common—some still are, while many have fallen by the wayside. The sayings cover the whole range of life: manners, obedience to our elders, relationships, poverty, wealth, and more. As you read, you will chuckle at the funny sayings or moan at the sayings that bring back times your elders spanked you. One I remember vividly is: “Kids in Africa (or China) are starving and you don’t want to eat (some food).” Back then, “children are to be seen and not heard” allowed us children to sit quietly at the feet of our elders and learn great wisdom. We probably need to go back to those days. This book is an enjoyable walk down memory lane.

Wm. Rocky Brown, 3rd shares words of wisdom and advice in 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us. Rocky makes no commentary on the sayings but just shares them as he remembers them. He keeps the original spellings, which some might find unusual. Most Southerners will understand the word “fixin'” because that is the way many of them talk. Most of the sayings are non-offensive and you can skip over the ones you don’t connect with. The reader might need to consider the times these sayings were popular and the culture of the era. Rocky writes for our enjoyment and to share words of wisdom with the younger generation.

Edith Wairimu

Wm Rocky Brown, 3rd's 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us is a collection of witty Southern sayings and phrases passed down the generations. Brown was raised by his grandmother who was from Mobile, Alabama, and his mother who came from Greenville, North Carolina. He recalls the sayings they often used, derived from nature and everyday activities, and were used to describe people’s behavior or appearance, offer advice, or act as warnings. Other sayings are hilarious while many are insightful. The phrases and sayings concern various themes including parenting. They explain daily activities, conversations, and interactions between people. Others inspire values such as humility, wisdom, discipline, and contentment.

I enjoyed this collection and found many sayings clever and funny. I found the book to be comprehensive and the sayings touch on many important topics. I loved that the advice offered through these sayings is practical and their use is universal. The sayings evoke vivid images and enliven general activities and common interactions. I found the phrases and sayings creative and they offered me insight into the language, perspective, and culture of people from the South. I appreciated that the meanings of some of the sayings were straightforward and could be understood by any reader. I also enjoyed pausing and thinking about the meanings of those sayings that were less straightforward. Wm Rocky Brown, 3rd's 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us is a collection of imaginative and light-hearted expressions; enlightening sayings that celebrate Southern culture.

Tommy Wong

Wm Rocky Brown, 3rd's 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us is a little book full of wise sayings. It is a concise book as it gives a list of 800 sayings straight, without any explanation or elaboration. There are also no chapters, so the book is set up for a quick read. The book is indeed easy to read, especially since some of the sayings are only two or three words long. Notwithstanding that the saying may be short, the wisdom within the saying can be deep. Indeed, the wisdom in many of the sayings in 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us is deep as they came from Wm Rocky Brown, 3rd’s parents, and grandparents who had the ability to take everyday activities or things of nature and turn them into wise sayings.

Isn’t it nice to have a little book full of wise sayings? With our hectic lives, we may not have time to get wisdom from a lengthy book. This is why 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us by Wm Rocky Brown, 3rd is so useful. I liked the book as it covers many topics, including God, Jesus, money, being poor, being dumb, and even eating. I particularly liked the sayings that are applicable to practical living, such as: “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything.” Some sayings contain the wisdom of the ages, like: “Experience is the best teacher.” This saying gave me a good laugh: “He’s so clumsy he’d trip over a cordless phone.” For those who want wise sayings quickly, 800 Sayings by Old Folks Who Raised Us is a good read.