Top positive review
A winning memoir
Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2019
You need not go into this book thinking it is a sad story about a young woman telling the tale of losing her mother. Yes, Bridgett M. Davis, the author, writes about her loss. But her memoir is much more than that. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO FANNIE DAVIS: MY MOTHER’S LIFE IN THE DETROIT NUMBERS is a first-hand look into a world in the heart of growing up and looking out in Detroit in the 60s. What it meant that African Americans could not even purchase a home in their own name, when laws were passed to integrate schools, but these laws were not adhered to, where blue collar jobs were hard to come by and if you could hold on to one, it didn’t necessarily mean that you could make ends meet. Fannie Davis did what she had to do to feed, clothe, and provide a nice roof over her family’s heads. She did not want her children or her husband, who at one point could no longer work, to go without. She worked. And hard. But her career was not legitimate. Her work did not hurt anyone, but it was kept a secret from others and her children knew not to disclose how she earned a living. After all, they benefited from her largesse.
She ran numbers. This was pre-Lottery days. She competed with the likes of actual mobsters and others who were considered tough. We’re talking an all cash business, which she collected on her own. This was not a punch in and out job. The stakes were high. Days where she was flush and others where she had to scramble to make pay-outs.
Young Bridgett grew up proud. And loved. And encircled by an abundance of family members and friends who felt that the Davis house was the place to be. First and foremost, the Davis home was filled with love and laughter and then, the physical comforts that her mother’s career brought the family. However, the secret that later created a cloud and which eventually hit a roadblock, took its toll.
All along, Bridgett thrived. What was she to do with this secret? It was gnawing at her. Not ever wanting to embarrass or disrespect her mother, she kept it to herself. Until now.
Shame is not on display. Nor should it be. This is a story rich with history about her family and the current of the time. About how a woman of that era would never have been expected nor would she have had the courage to do what Fannie did and to not only take care of her large family but all who came into her circle who needed help. Her big heart and foresight to look beyond the walls of her backyard came naturally. Generosity seemed second nature. Nobody put Fannie in a corner.
A story about a remarkable woman who not only created a business at a time when it was almost unheard of and in a city where it seemed impossible, plus built a warm, safe, and happy home for her family, as well as a community. Fannie’s daughter captured her legacy in a winning book.