Dragonslippers: This Is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like


260 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-14-305020-6
DDC 362.82'92'092




Reviewed by Susan Thomas

Susan Thomas is a middle-school guidance counselor, teacher, and social
worker in Milton, Ontario.


It has always been difficult for women in happy relationships (or none)
to understand why some women stay in abusive relationships. The 255
pages of cartoons that make up Dragonslippers tell the story of Roz, who
describes her 10 years of captivity as a “blip” in her life. The
“blip” that seemed endless while she was experiencing it. Roz’s
account of her ups and downs, her periods of clarity and falling
backward again, and the complexities of her indecision about leaving
hold tragically true for countless women in the same position.

As Dragonslippers makes abundantly clear, getting caught up in the
cycle of abuse can happen to anyone with a capacity to love. Roz was a
highly educated and successful 30-something woman when she met her
abuser, Brian. Her story has a happy ending in that she finally escapes
to tell her story. Sadly, Brian connects with another woman, and we can
only assume that his abusive behaviour will continue and perhaps even

Penfold’s book is an essential addition to the libraries of shelters
and support services for battered women. It also belongs on the shelves
of high-school, college, and university libraries.


Penfold, Rosalind., “Dragonslippers: This Is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 12, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15914.