Book Review | A Fraction Stronger by Mark Berridge
A story of strength and courage, this book is bound to help anyone navigating a major disruption. One man’s quest for survival to the point of flourishing is inspirational and challenging. Whilst taking the reader through his own journey, the author provides plenty of opportunities for the reader to explore their own circumstances.
Mark Berridge introduces himself as a typical young Australian boy with a zest for life. Very soon he moves on to describe the dramatic event that happened over 40 years later that would change his life forever and have a profound impact on those around him. Just as quickly as he moved on to that terrible moment, he shares his journey of overcoming the trials confronting him. How day by day, he has become A Fraction Stronger – physically, mentally and emotionally.
The body of the book is structured into three parts, describing the streams of thinking that were integral to the author’s recovery:
- Lanterns help us see possibility – showing courage by facing fears, embracing uncertainty, being willing to try and fail, drawing on the deep-seated essence of who we are, being curious and digging deeper to explore what it is to “never die wondering”
- Angels help us move forward – reaching out for help, applying maximum effort one action at a time, keeping believing, getting/giving love and encouragement
- Demons can derail us unless we reframe them as motivation – reframing guilt and rising above shame, building belief instead of fostering fear, dealing with despair.
Each part is made up of multiple chapters, every one ending by presenting the reader with a hand full of questions to address to help them move towards becoming A Fraction Stronger.
Whilst heart-wrenching, the book is well-written and the author’s style makes it easy to read. Details of his journey will grip any reader, the vulnerability exhibited drawing them in from the beginning. He cleverly weaves his story throughout the book, interspersing it with ideas of how the reader can apply his findings to their own lives. He also uses the stories of others to give different perspectives on similar issues, to reveal how we can utilise other people to inspire and motivate us, to put our own situations into perspective.
Whilst A Fraction Stronger describes a life-changing journey the extent of which most people would hope they never have to deal with, many, if not all would be able to relate to experiencing a significant change in their lives. They may not feel it can compare to what the author has undergone, but dare I say that everyone has had at least one moment where they have questioned their identity. A time when they have struggled with their self-worth. Where circumstances have resulted in having doubt about their physical abilities, mental well-being or intellectual worth.
Going through a dramatic life-changing event has enabled the author to find strength and uncover coping mechanisms that he may not have unearthed otherwise. Perhaps if we take on board some of the author’s learnings, we can make similar strides without having to go through the pain.
Review by Glenda Mitchell
Speaker, writer, facilitator and leadership coach
A Fraction Stronger: Finding belief and possibility in life's impossible moments by Mark Berridge is available now.