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The World According to Fannie Davis

My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers
Narrated by: Bridgett M. Davis
Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A singular memoir highlighting "the outstanding humanity of black America" that tells the story of one unforgettable mother, her devoted daughter, and the life they lead in the Detroit numbers of the 1960s and 1970s (James McBride)

In 1958, the very same year that an unknown songwriter named Berry Gordy borrowed $800 to found Motown Records, a pretty young mother from Nashville, Tennessee, borrowed $100 from her brother to run a Numbers racket out of her tattered apartment on Delaware Street, in one of Detroit's worst sections. That woman was Fannie Davis, Bridgett M. Davis' mother. 

Part bookie, part banker, mother, wife, granddaughter of slaves, Fannie became more than a numbers runner: she was a kind of Ulysses, guiding both her husbands, five children, and a grandson through the decimation of a once-proud city using her wit, style, guts, and even gun. She ran her numbers business for 34 years, doing what it took to survive in a legitimate business that just happened to be illegal. She created a loving, joyful home, sent her children to the best schools, bought them the best clothes, mothered them to the highest standard, and when the tragedy of urban life struck, soldiered on with her stated belief: "Dying is easy. Living takes guts."

A daughter's moving homage to an extraordinary parent, The World According to Fannie Davis is also the suspenseful, unforgettable story about the lengths to which a mother will go to "make a way out of no way" to provide a prosperous life for her family - and how those sacrifices resonate over time. This original, timely, and deeply relatable portrait of one American family is essential listening.

©2019 Bridgett M. Davis (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Novelist Davis honors her mother in this lively and heartfelt memoir of growing up in the 1960s and '70s Detroit...This charming tale of a strong and inspirational woman offers a tantalizing glimpse into the past, savoring the good without sugarcoating the bad." (Publishers Weekly)

"A remarkable story of a mother...Sharp and unwilling to be hemmed in by the dual restrictions of race and gender, she did what it took to raise a family and to uplift a community...In this admiring and highly compelling memoir, Bridgett Davis tells the story of her beloved mother. This is not a story about capitalizing on degeneracy. It is one of hope and hustling in a world where to have the former almost demanded the latter. This outstanding book is a tribute to one woman but will surely speak to the experiences of many." (Kirkus, starred review)

"A moving portrait... Her writing feels rooted in the city and its changing landscape. Combining historical research with extensive interviews, The World According to Fannie Davis is an engrossing tribute to a vibrant, hardworking, unforgettable woman." (Booklist, review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • BK
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 02-15-19

Fantastic

I grew up in Detroit, so this book provided me with a walk down memory lane. I enjoyed living there when the auto industry was booming and many African- Americans reached and maintained middle class status. Many of my family members played the numbers and hit, too. I’m very familiar with the terminology Bridgett used and how this elevated many to a different level of income from time to time. I wish Bridgett much success with her book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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great story, horrible narration

Great story about a bold, Black woman BOSS.

Even on 2x speed (because I just couldn't take it) I found great difficulty listening to the narrator's whispery, dry voice. I utterly abhor a "whisper talker". Buy this one on kindle.

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  • Sonya
  • Las Vegas, NV, United States
  • 05-05-19

The Numbers

While growing up I only heard negative comments about the people who played “the numbers”. Thanks for sharing your and your mother’s story.

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Relatable Life Story

I am truly able to relate to this story of Fannie Davis. My mother and father in the 1960’s ran their number business without using the telephone.

Thank you Bridgett Davis for sharing your Mother’s secret to the world and bringing back many memories of my own childhood.

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Must Listen

Great story that wraps in the history happening in that time period and location! Loved the narrators voice.

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Awful

I just could not even get past the first few chapters......maybe my life was more dangerous/interesting. But it sounded like a waste of my time.

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Author celebrates my hometown! loved it!

Very engaging story about the Numbers in Detroit. I grew up running my family's numbers to the neighborhood Numbers house. This book brought back so many good memories about growing up in Detroit.

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Beautiful story. Personal, touching, political, heart warming

Thank goodness someone was wise enough to let Bridgett Davis read her own work. Her performance resonates. This is the story of one daughter’s growing admiration of her mother’s entrepreneurial talent. It’s also the story of 1980s America, the Great Black Migration, the government destruction of black capitalism and the enduring impact one woman can have on family and community.

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Amazing

I loved every minute of this book! It gave a great balance of history, background on numbers and a great story. Beautifully done and read!

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The world according to Fannie Davis

A must read and very enjoyable. this is a great story of a black American family