Jell-O Girls: A Family History

Jell-O Girls: A Family History Review

A memoir that braids the evolution of one of America's most iconic branding campaigns with the stirring tales of the women who lived behind its façade - told by the inheritor of their stories.

In 1899, Allie Rowbottom's great-great-great-uncle bought the patent to Jell-O from its inventor for $450. The sale would turn out to be one of the most profitable business deals in American history, and the generations that followed enjoyed immense privilege - but they were also haunted by suicides, cancer, alcoholism, and mysterious ailments.

More than 100 years after that deal was struck, Allie's mother Mary was diagnosed with the same incurable cancer, a disease that had also claimed her own mother's life. Determined to combat what she had come to consider the "Jell-O curse" and her looming mortality, Mary began obsessively researching her family's past, determined to understand the origins of her illness and the impact on her life of Jell-O and the traditional American values the company championed. Before she died in 2015, Mary began to send Allie boxes of her research and notes, in the hope that her daughter might write what she could not. JELL-O GIRLS is the liberation of that story.

A gripping examination of the dark side of an iconic American product and a moving portrait of the women who lived in the shadow of its fractured fortune, JELL-O GIRLS is a family history, a feminist history, and a story of motherhood, love and loss. In crystalline prose Rowbottom considers the roots of trauma not only in her own family, but in the American psyche as well, ultimately weaving a story that is deeply personal, as well as deeply connected to the collective female experience.

Title:Jell-O Girls: A Family History
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Jessica

    This is less about the history of Jello and the struggles of feminism and more about the many woes of a wealthy and destructive family. Blaming all misfortune on a "curse" and the patriarchy came acro...

  • Leslie

    The book contains shocking, often poetic, imagery to describe the anguish that the author, her mother, and her grandmother endured due to the constraining culture of a "Jell-O" family. But here's the ...

  • Aja Gabel

    This book is an utter phenomenon. You will start it and be unable to put it down. What Rowbottom accomplishes here is seamless: heartbreaking confession and cultural history, exacting personal observa...

  • Melissa

    Jell-O Girls AKA The Patriarchy Is terrible Even If You're A Rich White LadyI was expecting either the dark underbelly to the wholesome Jell-O company or some great family drama about the creators of ...

  • Elaine

    After reading Jell-O Girls: A Family History, I think the author and her mother were victims of what is known as a self fulfilling prophecy.The author's mother, Mary, was told about a curse that bef...

  • Janelle

    Many thanks to Little Brown and Company for my free copy of JELL-O GIRLS by Allie Rowbottom - all opinions are my own.This is such a complex and fascinating memoir. Yes, it’s about Jell-O, but it’...

  • Vara

    As a born and bred Mississippian and feminist who was practically raised on Jello in its myriad forms - and is thrilled by its presence in little old lady salads on my rare trips home - I eagerly anti...

  • Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    Many of the early reviews of The Jell-O Girls describe it as a feminist book. I wish I could see it that way, but I don't. There are several stories here fighting for attention in The Jell-O Girls. Th...

  • Erin Farmer

    Do not recommend. I love a good family drama, but this was snoozeville. This is the actual story of the Jell-O dynasty apparently. The women are "cursed." ZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZzzz The author also did the na...

  • Cathie

    I was looking forward to this read about the history of jell-o for my food writing blog. However, my expectations were cut short as I began to read. This is more of a memoir about a family stricken wi...