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‘JELL-O Girls’ author Allie Rowbottom reading books on identity and culture

Hachette Book Group
Friday 17 August 2018 10.00

Allie Rowbottom

Rowbottom comes from the family that made Jell-O a household name. It was her great-great-great-uncle, Orator Woodward, who bought the formula and patent from a neighbor in LeRoy, N.Y., for $450 in 1899. However, in her new book, JELL-O Girls, Rowbottom offers a story far removed from the bright, cheery colors of the iconic American dessert. Rowbottom, who holds a doctorate in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston and is a recipient of the Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing, weaves together pieces of her mother’s unfinished memoir with her own experiences while sharing with the reader a particular analysis of patriarchy and the ramifications it can have on women reared under its umbrella.

What’s on your nightstand?

I typically read more than one book at a time. Right now, I’m reading Lorrie Moore’s Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and Yrsa Daley-Ward’s The Terrible for the first time. I’m also re-reading Chelsea Hodson’s Tonight I’m Someone Else and Alice Bolin’s Dead Girls.

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I’d recommend all these titles to readers interested in exploring issues of identity and the influence culture has on its early development. I suppose, too, because these books are written by authors who identify as women, I’d recommend these books to men, because I think now more than ever it’s important to strive to understand perspectives other than our own.

Piper Castillo, Times staff writer


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