Book Review: The Fourth Fisherman

This book was actually a disappointment, and perhaps I’m to blame for that.  I thought the book was going to focus on the story of how three Mexican fisherman survived nine months drifting at sea, but it really focused on telling the changes in how the book’s author, Joe Kissack, was transformed.  Perhaps I should have recognized that since the cover of the book has “How three Mexican fisherman who cam back from the dead changed my life and saved my marriage” written directly under the title, but I didn’t.

The book chronicles the story of Joe Kissack, a man who went from begin a high-ranking executive with Sony Pictures to living like the rest of us.  For the first 15 chapters or so one chapter tells his story and then the next tells the fishermen’s, and then the final 25 chapters focus solely on Kissack and attempt to use his journey to bring the story of the fishermen’s experience to life in a book and movie as an illustration of his own struggles.  But it just wasn’t very successful.  I just expected more focus on the fishermen and was immensely distracted by the self-centeredness of the author in the story.  SPOILER ALERT: DON’T READ THE NEXT SENTENCE IF YOU INTEND TO READ THE BOOK.  He finally identifies himself as the fourth fisherman, which to me seemed like an insult to the three who did survive.  I don’t know, I guess I expected the fourth fishermen to be Christ and for the book to focus on the transformation of them through their Christian faith and the miracle of their survival, but it didn’t.  It basically tells the story of one man who gets consumed with the American dream and then tells how he overcame.

If you’re looking for a story that’s inspirational to say, “Wow – look how God moved!” then this might be worth your time.  If you’re looking for a story to read because you’re going through struggles and you want to know how other people pushed through them to come out okay on the other side, though, you’ll be sadly disappointed.  While Kissack shares that he eventually was transformed, it doesn’t really talk about how he was transformed, offering no model for others to follow.  In fact, I see nothing about the story of the fisherman that related at all to his life at all.  He credits his work with them as transforming him, but I just don’t see, even after reading the book, how his interaction with them was anything transformative (one might even think, based on how he writes, that it was a distraction from what was really important).


To read the first two chapters for free, visit the book’s website and click on “Click to Start Reading”

I’ll give t 1.5 stars out of five.

For the record, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest (though not necessarily favorable) review.


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