Phew...How do I summarize this one? It's Kissack's story of depression and addiction, his recovery and later his pursuit (for the purpose of telling their story) of three Mexican fishermen who spent 9 months lost at sea. (There were two other fishermen who did not survive the ordeal.) Kissack had heard the men's story and at first had blown it off, then became intrigued by it, enough so that he went to Mexico impulsively and at great cost, financially and otherwise, to his family .
Do you guys remember this story of the fishermen happening? I don't, but Kissack does say that the arrest of JonBenet Ramsey's alleged killer (at the time) was the big story in the United States. (Apparently that was in August 2006.) Say it with me: Yuck! I wonder where that guy is now.
As an RN at a psychiatric hospital, I can tell you Kissack needs to be brought off his high horse regarding his attitude toward mental illness. I cringe to read "cuckoo's nest" and a reference to a straitjacket, among other insensitive comments. I've seen it and I know exactly what he's trying to do - distance himself from his peers. I have what shouldn't be news for Kissack: Mental illness can happen to anyone. He is no better than anyone else. I even tweeted him, I was so displeased. I have not gotten a response, but as I'm typing this he hasn't tweeted at all since May 31st.
I didn't expect Kissack to be Catholic when I started the book, but he joined the Church early on in the story (actually before things went so wrong for him)! I wondered, will he still be Catholic at the end? I didn't have to wait that long - By the next paragraph, he says going to Mass "almost" every weekend "was just checking another thing off the list." It doesn't seem like he got very into it though (especially not for the right reasons), as he didn't understand what a reference like "Rom. 12:1" meant later in the story. He says plainly that he was attracted to the Catholic Church because he liked a particular priest, and when the priest left the parish his interest waned. By about halfway through the book, it was crystal-clear that Kissack isn't Catholic. The church he attends - converted, for lack of a better word, from a grocery store - is called "Buckhead." If you need any more evidence, here's his description of the first service he attended there, not counting an event/"variety show" held there the night before: "...I slid into one of the rows - not pews - in the same room that the night before had been like a room at Caesars Palace. But now it was set up like a giant theater, and just as dark. The service began with another incredible band playing louder than the one the night before. It felt like a concert, and I think I even saw some smoke and strobe lights.... [A]n enormous movie screen dropped down at center stage, and a video sermon began (the pastor was streamed from another location).... I was sitting in a rock-and-roll, grocery store, video church - and I liked it." Three things: This makes me thankful we Catholics have the Eucharist. It makes me wish Kissack had been better catechized when he joined the church. And it makes me wonder about the orthodoxy of the priest that had so attracted Kissack to the Faith, especially after the description of the church he likes.
I do like Kissack's account of how he felt after converting in general (not to the Catholic Church), and it makes you wish you could (re)capture the feeling: "I felt joy in a way I never had before.... Before, when I'd heard others say what I was now saying, I would be dismissive and think of it as gooey spiritual talk. But this - this was real. It was like the rush you get after a hard workout or brisk morning run, yet this wasn't about endorphins, much less artificially manufactured substances. This was about a real, true spiritual release, the chemistry of God's grace that substituted His 'enoughness' for my relentless needs and drives."
My own favorite part of the book comes when Kissack is pursuing the three surviving fishermen in Mexico, because of a series of what my friend calls "God-incidences" (coincidences) that eventually lead him to the men (no easy task). It's another thing you wish would happen to you. In my case it hasn't in a long time! (Okay, that I know of.)
Kissack doesn't convincingly link his story to that of the fishermen. I still don't get the connection. This book is forgettable, and won't do anything for you. (Skip!)
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started reading The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack. I ordered because I think survival stories are interesting, but then when I read the description more closely it almost sounded like it was going to be an autobiography.
But when I started the book it sucked me right in. It turns out it was both - a survival story about three fisherman who were lost at sea and and autobiography of the author. It sounds odd when I say it like that, because it doesn't seem like the two stories would fit together, but they do. I liked how the author was able to tell both stories at once - it kept it interesting to me.
I think after reading this book, the best way to describe it would be to say that this book is a testimony. A story of how three men were lost at sea for nine months and God's faithfulness saw them through. And a story of how one man who found himself lost in life until God found Him.
I love reading testimonies of how people come to know Jesus and how God has worked in their lives, and this book was right up that alley on multiple fronts. I enjoyed it, and I would recommend it!
Note: I received this book for free through the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.
I had no idea who Joe Kissack was, but I assumed he had some significance as a men's ministry leader of some sort. And at the mention of the phrase "stand in the gap," I was inclined to think it had something to do with Promise Keepers, but apparently not. Actually, none of this really matters, because, Joe is a motivational speaker who has a compelling story and that's what this book is all about.
Joe's story is a shared story and, as I'm sure he'd describe it, it's God's story. It's a story of redemption, deliverance, and recovery. Having spent the better part of his life striving for acceptance by successfully acquiring possessions, the cost eventually caught up with him. His shared story includes three fisherman who spent the better part of a year adrift in the Pacific, struggling to survive long enough to find their rescue. As I said, there is redemption, but it wasn't without hitting rock bottom. There is deliverance, but it's didn't come without persistence and hard lessons along the way. There is recovery, but it's been a slow and difficult process, filled with numerous setbacks and unforeseen challenges. It's Joe's story and it's the story of three poor fishermen, but ultimately it's the story of God working in lives and circumstance to bring about His glory.
The Fourth Fisherman is a book that parallels Joe's life with that of five fisherman who are lost. The fisherman are lost and adrift in a boat at sea at the same time that Joe, who appeared to have it all: money, a life in the fast lane that money buys, was also lost and adrift--only Joe was lost on the sea of life. Three of the five fishermen miraculously survive despite being lost and adrift for nine months. They attribute their survival to their faith in God; faith one fisherman started out with, and the other two gained during their time of at sea. About the same time Joe, also very lost, is miraculously saved. As his life hits rock bottom he finds the only way up is through the grace of God. He finds his salvation comes by exercising the same faith, in the same God, as that of fishermen.
The Fourth Fisherman is a very interesting and well written book. I very much enjoyed reading it, finding my faith is strengthened and my priorities are re-set. I definitely recommend the reading of this book.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack is the latest book I've received from Waterbrook Multnoma for reviewing.
It tells the story of a group of hired fishermen who were on a boat that was damaged during a storm, and who found themselves drifting.... and drifting... and drifting.
Eventually the boat made it all of the way across the ocean, from Mexico over to near Australia... and three of the men survived.
The book also tells the story of the author, who worked in Hollywood, and was very successful but still found his life falling apart, and his journey of recovery.
Later, it ties the two stories together, and tells of how the author saw the story of the fishermen as a parallel to his life, and explains his quest to make contact with them and tell their story.
It's a really interesting book, and the stories both draw you in and make you want to keep reading.
But it sort of gets awkward with the two stories mixed together... especially at the start of the book when they really seem to have nothing to do with each other, but the chapters flip back and forth.
I think that the two stories really would have done better told separately... completely tell one, then the other, and then relate them. The author does explain that he only intended to write about the men, but was told by many people that he needed to include his story too... but I don't think this was the best way to do it. At some points, the flipping back and forth even sort of seems to trivialize the struggles that the author was facing... in comparison to being hopelessly adrift at sea while your crewmates die, just about anything else is going to seem trivial.
It's still a good read... but keeping the big picture of where he's trying to go with this in mind at the first part of the book might be helpful.