26 September 2023

A Fraction Stronger

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Mark Berridge, Major Street Publishing, $32.99.

Finding belief and possibility in life’s impossible moments is what makes this true narrative a compelling read. It’s about one man’s survival after a devastating, life-changing bicycle accident – and how he found probability in life’s darkest moments. Inspirational!

In March 2019, the trajectory of Mark Berridge’s life changed forever. “In a fraction of a moment, I went from cruising downhill enjoying the freshness of the morning air and beautiful sunshine, to hitting a sunken, slippery piece of bitumen repair work, causing my bicycle to understeer through its cornering line.”

That misadventure resulted in many aspects of his life that were to be displaced: his immediate career, ability to walk, his role in the family. Fortunately, many crucial aspects of his life were spared by the quality of his recently acquired helmet which protected his ability to comprehend, to think and to recall valuable memories.

“These have provided – and will continue to provide – the comfort of the past, perspectives on the present and inspiration for the future.”

That’s why he feels privileged to be able to describe his story and recovery – and to relate the experiences and learnings that supported his journey. Mark wrote this book more than two years after the accident.

“I am still a work in progress – as I will be for my remaining life. I am slower. I need to be careful with my balance. Every action takes a lot more energy and getting off the floor is difficult. But I have been able to recapture much of my mobility, and I am grateful for that.”

The three parts of this book are based around the streams of thinking that were integral to Mark’s physical recovery, and in that transition to a rebuild identity. He calls these lanterns (to help us see possibility); angels (to help us move forward); and demons (could derail us, unless we reframe them as motivation). His ingenuity works well.

While this is not a story about winning or the occurrence of a miracle … the journey is not about the fall – it is about how we choose to get up. It is not about the inertia and the fear – it is how we choose to move, to tackle our fears and embrace uncertainty.

Mark’s journey is not of an average person who strived for an exceptional outcome, but one about a man of resilience who strives to become a fraction stronger, every day. As he says: “Significant smiles do work.”

When did Mark Berridge have his bicycle accident? If the answer is correct, you could be one of two winners to get a copy of the book. Entries should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, 28 March 2022. Names of the winners will be announced in Frank Cassidy’s PS-sssst…! column on 29 March 2022.

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