Book Review: The Road Less Travelled

The Road Less Travelled
By Emily Elliff

Though the Civil War period has always been one of my favorite historical periods to learn about, I had somehow never heard of Jennie Hodgers/Albert Cashier until reading this book. What a fascinating historical figure – one who definitely needs to be taught in history classes!

Jennie/Albert’s determination is incredible. When Jennie is dissatisfied with the opportunities available to her in Ireland, she hops aboard a ship and comes to America (disguised as a man, so that she can work as a cabin boy on the ship). When she finds she’s dissatisfied with the opportunities available to women in America at the time, she decides to remain disguised as a man, and ends up enlisting to fight in the Civil War.

What I find so fascinating about Jennie is that, despite any reservations she may have, she lets nothing get in the way of her and her ideal life. Even today, so many people are dissatisfied in their lives, whether it’s with their jobs, family issues, the place where they live, etc. Jennie conquers her dissatisfaction by circumventing societal norms in any way she can.

Though she faces many struggles, both internal and external along the way, Jennie continues to pursue the life she wants, rather than the life others – such as her parents, siblings, and love interest, Johnnie – have laid out for her.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about the Civil War period, who wants to learn about a fascinating new person. 


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