• The World According to Fannie Davis

  • My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers
  • By: Bridgett M. Davis
  • Narrated by: Bridgett M. Davis
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (270 ratings)

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The World According to Fannie Davis

By: Bridgett M. Davis
Narrated by: Bridgett M. Davis
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Publisher's Summary

A singular memoir highlighting "the outstanding humanity of black America" (James McBride) 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

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 listeners say about The World According to Fannie Davis

Average Customer Ratings
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  • BK
  • 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!

4 people found this helpful

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I liked it

Initially I didn't like it but as I got further in, I dealt enjoyed this book

1 person found this helpful

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Decent story but poor narration

I did enjoy the story though I felt like the constant descriptions of all of the things her mother bought for her got to be a bit much. I felt like that narration sounded like she was just reading from an encyclopedia and didn’t sound like she was telling a story. I was bored at times listening to her.

1 person found this helpful

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To a fellow native Detroiter

Your book was a beautiful and well written story. You blended history and family life.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved the story.

Really could relate to the story. Felt that it was read a bit slowly. The characters were bigger than life

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Loved it!

The narrator's voice was soothing & her pronunciation of words made me enjoy this book even more.

I understood family secrets & could relate very well with not being able to tell others, including friends & family about what goes on at home. Fanny did what she had to do & did it with style & grace like many other black mothers did during that time. I remember the numbers & dream books & hearing that somebody hit the number, that's how they paid for that car, or furniture or outfit. Those were the days...

This book made me remember my childhood with aunts & uncles & their friends & good times & bad times.

I loved it from beginning to end.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!

Loved this book! It was so emotional. I felt every emotion. I had tears on certain parts. I need a discussion group for this book.

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Captivating

Captivating story about the author’s life and that of her mother and family. Beautiful descriptions of places and things, entertaining stories, and interesting facts & background given about the numbers game as well as the goings on in Detroit at the time. Read by the author who has a lovely voice. It’s a little slow so I set the speed to 1.1x and it sounded fine.

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Lovely tribute of a mother's love for her family

I truly loved the story. I really struggled with the narration. I was going to return the audiobook and just purchase the kindle version, but...alas...I am lazy.

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Masterful Storytelling

I’ve listened to more Audible books than I can count but this is the only one I got through in two days. Bridget’s voice is the most soothing and emotionally honest of any I’ve heard. It was like sitting in her living room after dinner with a good glass of Sauternes listening to her tell me the transformational story about her life.

More importantly, this is a story that needed to be told and could only be told by a brilliant and accomplished writer like Bridget.

I grew up in a community of black folk playing the numbers based on dreams, street addresses, birthdays, and on and on. I never understood it and it’s importance until now.

Thank you Bridget for finally revealing this “family secret” which in some strange way feels like I just hit the number.

I give this book an unequivocal recommendation. Listen to it,or read it, and you too shall be rewarded as I have.