The World According to Fanny Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbersby Bridgett M. Davis (paperback, Back Bay Books, 2020) is a memoir about being a mother’s child growing up African-American in Detroit in the 1970s and 1980s. It is about how the community-based lottery known as “the numbers” works. I had always been curious about the numbers and numbers runners from songs and movies that mentioned such (e.g. “I grew up running numbers/for this man I used to know” from Putting People on the Moon by Drive-By Truckers), and The World According to Fanny Davisprovides a fine introduction to the history and operation of the numbers game. Davis also skillfully integrates her family’s history with a broader history of the Great Migration of African-Americans out of the South (Nashville, in Davis’s parents case) to Detroit during the Motor City’s post World War II heyday as a center of automobile manufacture and pop music creation. In particular, Davis’ delineation of how explicit exclusion of African Americans from access to mortgages and land and home ownership played out in her family and led to systemic denial of many African Americans to “the American Dream” of home ownership is important reading for any who do not understand the impact of this discrimination in American society. (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson pairs nicely with Davis’s memoir in discussing the arc of federal policy and its impact on race relations and the material conditions of African-Americans in the US). The World According to Fannie Davisis full of truths, but many of its truest moments come as Davis describes her relationship with her mother, especially her long and painful journey to these particular pages. Davis, an accomplished novelist and filmmaker, has here created a triumph of non-fiction, a book that marries history and memoir, love story and self-reflection, and it is a lucky reader who finds their way to her stellar work.