A Fraction Stronger

Finding Belief and Possibility in Life’s Impossible Moments

Non-Fiction - Memoir
216 Pages
Reviewed on 08/11/2022
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Author Biography

Imagine flying through the air, crunching into the earth and then gasping for breath. Suffering an agonising wait for the ambulance, trying to remain calm. Desperately hoping that the damage is not as severe as it feels. Hearing the words spinal cord injury. Being told you may never walk again. Feeling your identity shatter inside you.

Mark Berridge navigated these impossible moments, after a cycling accident launched him onto a recovery path littered with uncertainty and fear. It upended the life the father of three had known. It set him on a journey of determined self-discovery.

Mark shares the influences and attitude that helped him tackle adversity and become a fraction stronger. He writes and speaks about the powerful connection between embracing uncertainty and liberating possibility. His uplifting message is drawn from lived experience, shaped in a way that helps readers and listeners become a fraction stronger too.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

A Fraction Stronger: Finding Belief and Possibility in Life’s Impossible Moments is a memoir by Mark Berridge. After sustaining devastating back and bone injuries during a bicycling accident, Mark faced a lengthy hospital stay and nine months in physical rehabilitation. While regaining some of his mobility and navigating through the effects of this sudden disruption to his life, he developed a strategy and philosophy for moving forward in a new direction: “Because it is not about the fall – it is about how we choose to get up.” This well-paced, engagingly written narrative is divided into three topics: Lanterns (seeing possibilities), Angels (moving forward), and Demons (things that could derail us unless we reframe them). Questions after each chapter help the reader focus on a path to recovery.

In A Fraction Stronger, Mark Berridge gives us an inspirational, insightful, and motivational account of his struggle to rebuild not only his physical strength but also his sense of identity and self-worth following a traumatic disruption to the successful career and life path he was on. His advice is phrased in deceptively simple terms: Start by getting through today. Put your heart and soul into the journey. Keep your pathways open. Reach out and in. Face fear. Find moments to help others and yourself. Nurture the “embers” that light your life and give it purpose. Love is a powerful force. I especially liked the definition of bravery: “whatever you need it to be to help you believe.” This is an utterly wonderful read.

Susan van der Walt

An early Sunday morning biking accident not only causes a severe spinal injury for Mark Berridge but also fractures his identity. Not only does he have to face the possibility of limited movement, but also the effect this accident will have on his corporate career. In A Fraction Stronger, Mark Berridge relates his story - describing the accident and his healing journey. Although hoping for a miraculous recovery, he also had to make peace with the fact that he would never attain one hundred percent recovery. Mark Berridge works toward his primary goal - to obtain his best recovery and identity - by setting smaller and achievable goals regarding his physical rehabilitation and building a new identity.

A Fraction Stronger tells of the physical pain and effect of Mark Berridge's biking accident and his emotional struggle and loss of identity. He shares the stories of many others who had fought and overcome similar hurdles. These stories gave him the necessary hope and courage to persevere. Mark also highlights the importance of his support network and many small acts of kindness that encourage him during hard times. I love the questions for reflection he poses at the end of every chapter, which is a resource to help others deal with devastating events. I've also enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of every chapter, which has been a source of inspiration for Mark Berridge throughout his healing journey. A Fraction Stronger is an inspiring book for those who enjoy true stories of grit and perseverance.

Alma Boucher

A Fraction Stronger by Mark Berridge is his inspirational journey to recovery after a horrific accident. On 10 March 2019, his life changed forever in the blink of an eye. His future role in his family, career, and ability to walk changed. Mark had to rebuild this identity. He was able to regain much of his mobility and will be a work in progress for his remaining life. He felt guilty that he was going to be a burden to his family. Mark focused on mastering one movement at a time to move him toward recovery. He was stronger after each milestone he reached. It was a struggle to stay positive and look forward to recovery. However, his way of thinking was essential to his physical recovery.

A Fraction Stronger by Mark Berridge is emotional and engaging. The story is an inspiration to us no matter the circumstances we face. It is full of information, and I never felt overwhelmed with all the details. The book was easy to read and had my attention from the beginning. Mark shared his deepest emotions and experiences after the accident. He described what happened and how he felt in detail. He did not let obstacles hinder his recovery. He finds a way to overcome them. He was prepared to take it one obstacle at a time. This memoir is excellently written. It has a powerful message that our way of thinking is important for us to become stronger. It was interesting to read other people's life stories and realize there are so many others going through their own life storms.

K.C. Finn

A Fraction Stronger: Finding Belief and Possibility in Life’s Impossible Moments is a work of non-fiction in the memoir subgenre. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Mark Berridge. The book follows the author's road to recovery in the aftermath of a near-fatal bicycle accident in which his spine was damaged. After almost a year in intensive rehabilitation, the difficult journey to overcoming the aftershock of a split-second incident is laid out in this work along with the insight that comes with living through such an ordeal.

The secret ingredient to elevating a simple memoir of adversity into something that is profound in its insight and capacity to help the reader through their own difficulties is honesty and openness from the author, and such sincerity is on show on every page of this book. Author Mark Berridge’s experience was an extraordinarily painful one, and his journey to recovery was long and difficult, but through his willingness to be vulnerable in his writing he has used his pain and adversity to create something that I sincerely feel will be of value to others going through the difficult process of physical recovery. There is a sense of solidarity that can be found here, of support from someone who has been to the edge and brought themselves back. It is a work that places a reassuring hand on the reader's shoulder and tells them that they will survive their hardships. Overall, A Fraction Stronger is a powerful memoir that uses beautiful prose to depict both adversity and rehabilitation in a way that inspires hope in the reader.

Jessica Barbosa

A Fraction Stronger: Finding Belief and Possibility in Life’s Impossible Moments is a memoir written by Mark Berridge. It started out as a typical Sunday for Mark. Never could he imagine that one bike ride with his friends, the Coorparoo Older Guys, would result in such a devastating accident. His crash accident compressed two of his vertebrae and a large fragment of that vertebra had burst into his spinal cord, causing nerve damage and compressing the space available for the spinal cord to function. Adding fractures to his left shoulder and wrist, and three ribs, Mark’s life from then on is changed forever.

A Fraction Stronger is an inspiring memoir that details Mark Berridge’s journey to recovery and the difficulties he faced through his grueling ordeal. It is an inspirational tale that tackled self-doubt, pain, and hope, and provided valuable insight into a person’s mind when they have gone through such a life-changing accident. Mark experienced self-understanding throughout this unprecedented incident. He experienced both mental and physical pain that moved my heart and taught me about perseverance, the power of resolution, and self-love. During his trying times, he learned about how precious and fragile life was, gaining a new perspective along the way.

A Fraction Stronger is made up of more than just Mark’s story but other people’s too. An example was the story of their family friend Tom and how he faced his traumatic event and there was also Alex McKinnon’s story which allowed Mark to have a tighter grasp on the importance of life. Overall, I could say that this story was eye-opening and encouraging. His struggles and persistence touched me and taught me a lot. It showed me that there can be light even during difficult times and that there is still so much left for me to learn about life and its challenges. This is a truly moving and uplifting tale by Mark Berridge. Great work!