I found this book on a list of unusual true crime reads. I suppose on some level this can be classified as a “true crime” book. Illegal gambling is a crime and I guess Fannie Davis was technically a criminal if you’re going by the letter of the law. But this is really more than that. It’s a story about a daughter’s relationship with her mother, how it evolved over the years, how her mother embraced her unusual profession and used it to make a better life for her family. It’s a story about a city, Detroit, its many ebbs and flows, what it meant to black culture and what black culture meant to it.
Really, it’s just a damn fine, eminently readable book. Bridgett M. Davis waited a while to tell her mother’s story. Before she did, she worked as a journalist and wrote two other fiction novels. Her experience pays off here. Her voice really shines through the work, knowing exactly how she wants to tell this tale. It’s layered with examinations on family, race, gender, class but it never loses sight of its central relationship.
I read that Davis is writing a script based on the novel and I would see that movie. While reading it, I kept thinking in a weird way of The Irishman, because though neither story is similar, both have that classic generational feel to them that tell the stories of our country through the lives of others. This one comes highly recommended.