Jell-O Girls: A Family History Audiobook, by Allie Rowbottom Play Audiobook Sample

Jell-O Girls: A Family History Audiobook

Jell-O Girls: A Family History Audiobook, by Allie Rowbottom Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Allie Rowbottom Publisher: Hachette Book Group Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 5.17 hours at 1.5x Speed 3.88 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: July 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781478992196

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

32:59 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

03:36 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

13:38 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


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Publisher Description

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.

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“Rowbottom weaves together her family history and the story of the classic American dessert…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.”

— New York Times 


  • “The author’s family’s Jell-O empire brought wealth and privilege but also seemed to curse the lives of her grandmother, her mother and herself. With this fascinating cultural history of an iconic dessert and its creators, Rowbottom has found the courage to break the mold.”

    — People
  • “Rowbottom’s devastating memoir….doubles as a social history of the influential brand and its patriarchal messaging…The mother-daughter portrait that emerges here melts the heart.”

    — O, The Oprah Magazine
  • “A fascinating feminist exploration…a strange, sensitive account of trauma, motherhood, and America.”

    — Real Simple
  • “Rowbottom paints a fascinating portrait…This account illuminates both the rise of an American product and dynasty. 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)
  • “Intimate and intriguing…A fascinating feminist history of both a company and a family.”

    — Publishers Weekly
  • “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


  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection
  • A People Pick of the Week
  • An Indie Next List selection
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month
  • A Real Simple Pick of 2018

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About Allie Rowbottom

Allie Rowbottom received her BA from New York University, her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and her PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston. Her work has received scholarships, essay prizes, and honorable mentions from Tin House, Inprint, the Best American Essays series, the Florida Review, Bellingham Review, Black Warrior Review, Southampton Review, and Hunger Mountain.