The Fourth Fisherman (Review)

Joe Kissack was at the top of his profession, living in the nice house with the nice car and beautiful family. From the outside, it looked like he had achieved the dream life. But on the inside he was dying, suffering from depression and substance abuse and on the verge of self destruction.

Five fishermen set out from a small town on the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. After a storm they end up with no fuel, drifting aimlessly in the vast ocean. Two of them die and the other three are nearing the end as well.

This book tells the stories of both Joe and the three surviving fisherman. It does so, at least for the first half, by switching between the two stories chapter-by-chapter. Eventually the two stories come together and we learn how, as the title says, the fisherman saved Joe’s life and marriage.

It is an easy to read, entertaining and inspiring story. The problem is, it is two stories and neither really gets enough space. I found myself desiring to learn more about these fisherman. Joe’s own story takes up more of the book and it would be easy to not be sympathetic to him due to his wealth. But his story succeeds in showing the different sorts of deaths humans may die prior to our literal end. Yet even though he tells more of his own story, I found myself wanting more.

Another problem with the book is that, probably due to its brevity, it offers shallow theological answers. Yes, it is inspiring that God saved both Joe and these fisherman. But that begs the question, what about all the others who desperately prayed for God’s help and did not receive it? Joe’s conversion story is practically a Damascus Road experience. How come God doesn’t do that for more people? It is not that such questions do not have answers, and I realize answering them is not the purpose of this book, but I feel the astute, or cynical, reader will ask them.

Check it out for a quick, good and inspiring story.

I received this book for free from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of reviewing as a part of the Blogging for Books program.

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