Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Fourth Fisherman byJoe Kissack

How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage byJoe Kissack- is basically two stories in one book. The author combines the tales of two entirely differnt, non related stories.  The only common bond has to do with the interaction of the characters after their own stories are basically complete. 

On the one hand, the account of the five Mexican fishermen, in which three of five men survived- after being considered long gone-  after spending nine months in a small open boat without any food or supplies, aimlessly drifting across the Pacific Ocean was told with vivid realism. Graphic details describe their nine month ordeal in the open ocean: starvation, fear and death. Realistic and vivid accounts of eating raw shark organs, drinking sea turtle blood and rainwater and death capture the reader's attention.  Their story was truly inspiring- the fact that they held on to faith and equated the bible- God's word, with essential food on which they survived.  Nevertheless I felt that this exciting portion of the story was too brief.  In of itself, this could be an entire book. 

The book alternated with a chapter from the lives of the simple, poor yet courageous fisherman, with that of the author, Joe Kissack-  a successful Hollywood executive, in a world of American excess and materialism- complete with a mansion, expensive cars, expesnive entertainment, fame and more. I found that that while the real account of how the author changes his life and was reborn- is an inspiring example of the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives, it was not entirely interesting to read about.  Nevertheless as written in the book, those chapters dedicated to his life, did not hold my attention. The author went over laborous detail about his childhood, his relationship with his father and his relationship with his wife.  These personal details did not hold my attention.  The account of his interpersonal relationships read more like a personal journal- or memoir. I found myself looking forward to the account of the fishermen instead. 
Despite the prolonged discussion of his personal life and his road to faith, the author made some very good, notable points.  Kissack  recognised the irony that when faced with few choices, the fishermen turned to God and were fulfilled.  For example, the fisherman appreaciated God and relied on faith rather than materialism.  They were satisfied with few choices.  In fact, a meal of simple white rice was adequate for their needs.  In contrast, tn the prosperous cultures where wealth and entertainment is common and choices are available, so fewer people turn to God.  Wealthy people become dependant upon a standard of living and an enourmous number of options and choices. Yet, in a way, I felt this was a bit self serving, as perhaps giving an author an excuse to block God from his life by claiming it is harder to rely on God when your life is comfortable and easy, and  and full of materialism and wealth.  Perhaps the author is trying to compare his spiritually devoid life with the extreme ordeal suffered by the fisherman.  Perhaps the reader might even go so far as to interpret the author's intention as to imply that it was easier for the fisherman to hold on to faith because they faced death daily and had no other choice- and that it was harder for a wealthy executive to break free from his life of excess in exchange for faith.  As a blogger for Water Brook publishers I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.

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