The Fourth Fisherman
By Joe Kissack
The Fourth Fisherman is really three stories in one. There is the story of the three Mexican fishermen who were adrift in the Pacific Ocean for nearly nine months struggling day to day to survive. There is the story of the author’s rise to fame and power, and subsequent fall, as a Hollywood television executive. And finally there is the author’s attempt to write the story of the three fishermen, and make it into a movie. Spoiler alert: I knew the book eventually got written because I was holding it in my hands.
This book was a page turner for me. As I read it I didn’t want to put it down, and that has been a first for me in a long time. I personally found two out of the three stories very endearing and heart wrenching. The third…not so much. It was good, but not as interesting as the other parts. I will attempt to break down the three for you.
A fishing voyage was begun by five Mexican men with varying backgrounds, and experience. A day or two into a three day fishing trip, the men found themselves fighting a storm, and an unfortunate thing happened—they lost the fishing net…a really expensive fishing net…about a year’s worth of income for that net. Poor decision making turned that unfortunate loss into a tragedy sending the men adrift into the Pacific Ocean. Kissack describes in spectacular detail the horrors the men went through as they struggled day to day to survive.
As Kissack writes the book he alternates a chapter of the fishermen’s story with a chapter of his story, and what happened to me was I was drawn into two completely different stories at the same time—like I was trying to decide which of two books to read. Kissack told of his childhood, being raised by a disapproving, never satisfied father; the courtship of his wife, Carmen; and his budding career in television. As Kissack’s career skyrocketed, so did the things he needed to do to sustain his lifestyle, and for the most part his very life. Carmen emerged as the hero of this chapter of his life.
About midway through the book I began asking myself a question over and over again. Here’s another Spoiler Alert: Of the five fishermen, two die leaving three fishermen. My question was, Who’s the “fourth” fisherman? Jesus? Kissack? It is at this point that Kissack beautifully connects the story of his life with the story of the three fishermen’s lives. While he appeared to be doing well, he was lost. While the fishermen appeared to be in dire straits, they actually were not lost. God knew exactly where they were. Kissack then finishes the book describing, again in spectacular detail, what he had to do to get the book written.
This is a guy’s book. I got excited about aspects of it and my wife would say, “I don’t want to hear anymore.” If you’re a guy’s guy, you need to read this book. If there’s a guy’s guy in your life, you need to buy him this book. It’s well worth it.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.