Julie Lalonde only spent eight years of her life in Sturgeon Falls, but she still considers the area home.
“I’m kind of from all over, but when I think about where I’m from, it’s unequivocally Sturgeon,” she says. “There’s just something about Sturgeon, if you’re from there, then people don’t ever forget it. People always made an effort to stay in touch, which again was hard to do at that time, but I’m still really close with all of the people I grew up with in Sturgeon.”
Eight formative years in town was long enough to make a lasting impact on this 35-year-old women’s rights advocate, sexual violence educator and now, award-winning author.
The subject of her book? The 10 years of her life she spent being stalked by her ex-boyfriend.
What impact that decade of fear, anger and uncertainty had on her may never be fully realized, even after years of therapy. But the intention of her book, Resilience is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde, is clear: how we respond to stalking in Canada needs to change.
“That’s the kind of person I am,” she says. “I don’t just want to tell people my sad story, I want us to fix things.”
Resilience is Futile was recently named one of the best Canadian nonfiction works of 2020 by CBC Books. It also won the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Speaker’s Book Award in October. The honours and acknowledgements are humbling for Lalonde, especially given how difficult it was to release a book in 2020. However, her focus continues to be on working so that fewer stories like hers are told in the future.