Sounds like the database is working the way you set it up, it's just not doing what you expected.
Look at the layout while in Layout Mode. Are there any fields showing? If not you will need to add them to your layout using the field tool. With table view, it's possible to add fields to the "view" that aren't physically present on the layout so this may explain what you are seeing.
If you can see the fields you expected in layout mode, then check to see if borders and/or a contrasting fill color has been specified for the fields as this will help make them visible when in browse mode. You can select a field or group of fields specify borders in the appearance tab in the Inspector. You can click the Aa button if the formatting bar isn't visible at the top of your screen to get to controls for specifiying line and fill colors and patterns.