︎        AESTHETICA       


Allie Rowbottom



“Despite its title, this isn’t a bland tale that goes down easy;  Jell-O Girls is dark and astringent, a cutting rebuke to its delicate, candy-colored namesake...Rowbottom has the literary skills and the analytical cunning to pull it off. Like a novelist, she can imagine herself into the emotional lives of others, while connecting her story and theirs to a larger narrative of cultural upheaval.” —Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

Rowbottom’s memoir of her family, heirs to the Jell-O fortune, is neither sweet nor wistfully nostalgic. It is a dark, disturbing story of patriarchy, oppression and sickness, alternating with a meticulously researched feminist history of the Jell-O business and its marketing campaigns directed at women.” —Moira Hodgson, Wall Street Journal

Devastating…The mother-daughter portrait that emerges here melts the heart.” — Liesl Schillinger, O, the Oprah Magazine

“Mysterious illnesses, great disappointments, haunting events—the story behind Jell-O (yes, that Jell-O) is crazy.… Jell-O Girls is part family history, part American history, and part commentary on our patriarchal society. But unexpectedly and at its core, it’s a story of motherhood.” —Goop

“This surprisingly feminist tract is ultimately a mother-daughter story. In excavating her mother’s story, Rowbottom reveals the curse of Jell-O’s allure. Read this delicious book for yourself, but the stomachache left behind? It is patriarchy.” —Peggy Goings, San Diego Union-Tribune

“A capable, highly readable book on a topic that deserves more attention…Though superwealth and misogyny are ready subjects, Jell-O Girls is most interesting as an examination of the psychological sources of illness and the outsize fertility of unhealed trauma…Indeed, the book itself seems a talisman to ward off sickness. In accordance with our culture of confession, Rowbottom earnestly hopes that an act of speech—writing, in this case—may represent the cure.” —C.E. Morgan, New York Times Book Review

“Graceful and genuine, Jell-O Girls is what happens when a damn good story meets an even better writer.” —Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day

“I love this book with all my heart. I couldn't put down this strangely sparkling cultural and family history.” —Porochista Khakpour, author of Sick

“A moving memoir of a daughter seeking to understand her mother, family, and the place of women in American society, and the narrative also serves as a thoughtful, up-close-and-personal feminist critique of a cultural icon. A book brimming with intelligence and compassion.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A memoir that reads like fiction—it will completely fascinate you.” —Brenda Janowitz, PopSugar

“Rowbottom paints a fascinating portrait of the family behind one of America’s most famous desserts...The renown of Jell-O will attract a variety of readers to this memoir, and the storytelling will keep them turning pages to the very end.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Before Allie’s mother died of cancer she began digging into the family’s past to trace the origins of the illness. Jello‐O Girls is Allie’s continuation of her work, diving into her family history and themes of motherhood, love, and loss.” —Elizabeth Entenman, Hello Giggles

“Intimate and intriguing...A fascinating feminist history of both a company and a family.” —Publishers Weekly

“A deeply personal and frequently painful journey that’s all the more heartrending because it’s true…Rowbottom brings a clear-eyed clarity to the story, incorporating both a conciliatory and a cathartic tone that keeps the story on track throughout, even in its darkest moments.” —Mark Burger, Greensboro (NC) Yes! Weekly

“A moving portrait of abiding mother-daughter love…Rowbottom’s keening book is at its core an act of devotion to her mother...Rowbottom shares her mother’s trenchant view of Jell-O’s subliminal social programming, and her passages about the brand’s marketing offer stimulating feminist cultural analysis. What gives her text its emotional force is the interweaving of this material with her own personal stories.” —Wendy Smith, Boston Globe

“A fascinating narrative about family, motherhood, feminism, and trauma.” —Sadie Trombetta, Bustle

“A work of wild insights and deep music. We all come from somewhere, yet I never imagined that someone could come from Jell-O. Allie Rowbottom has molded this generous book of intuition, connection, and grace.”—Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

“More than a memoir about Rowbottom’s family…Jell-O Girls is also a fascinating feminist exploration of the role the jiggly dessert played on dinner tables across the country and in larger society. Rowbottom tells a strange, sensitive account of trauma, motherhood, and America.” —Nora Horvath and Elizabeth Sile, Real Simple

“This surprising page-turner of a memoir tells the story of the drama-haunted family behind the wiggly dessert that went on to become one of the most profitable businesses in American history (and a favorite Southern ingredient).” —C.J. Lotz, Garden & Gun

“A fascinating family history combined with an examination of an iconic brand. Through it Rowbottom shows the interconnectivity among women and the continued need for amplification of their voices…. This captivating memoir connects a family ‘curse’ to Jell-O, feminism and changing societal norms.” —Melissa Firman, Shelf Awareness

Jell-O Girls kept me up nights with its urgency and insistence, following Rowbottom, in her masterfully clear-eyed grief, on the hunt for understanding and explanation. A heart-wrenching confession, an exacting cultural history, and an important and honest feminist story for right now.” —Aja Gabel, author of The Ensemble

“In compiling a history of the spell the Jell-O brand cast on the American housewife—by working its way into every dietary fad from ‘domestic science’ to Weight Watchers—Rowbottom also manages to chart the mystery of female pain. Along the way, she reclaims her own family history, writing a tribute to her mother that is both gutting and gorgeous.” —Alice Bolin, author of Dead Girls

“Rowbottom is a talent to be heralded. Jewel-toned as its subject, her prose brings into crystal focus the lacerating toll of patriarchy in our media, our homes, and our own bodies.” —Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State

“A gripping and compelling portrait of the women born into one of America’s most recognizable brands…A feminist revelation and a captivating investigation of the true history behind a family and the collective consciousness of a nation.” —Julia Fierro, author of The Gypsy Moth Summer

“In this first-ever insider account Rowbottom mixes up equal parts history, sociology, feminist tract and personal mother-daughter story to create a literary treatise as clear and bright as Jell-O itself.” —Carolyn Wyman, author of Jell-O: A Biography

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