Jell-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

Jell-o Girls was and interesting story about the evolution of the most iconic branding campaigns in America.  I liked the story, some parts I thought could have been left aside, but I suppose they did have their place in the history of this family.

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.

Several years later Allie’s mother is diagnosed with the same 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.

You can probably find a box of Jell-o in every single house in America.  The story adds in the history of the product and how we’ve come to enjoy it now.  It is safe to eat – no worries – but after you read this story, you won’t be able to blame them for thinking that Jell-o was their down fall.

 

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