Posted June 7, 2010
THE FOURTH FISHERMAN
Normally I don't post but once a week, but I couldn't keep this book from the universe one minute longer. When I first saw the book cover and read below the title, "How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back From the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage," I was immediately intrigued. Obviously, the fishermen had been lost at sea. In high school, I'd always been fascinated by Thor Heyerdahl's experiment of sailing the Pacific in a homemade balsa wood raft named the Kon Tiki to prove the ancients could have sailed the same route in something similar. As a scuba diver, I had a deep respect for the ocean and the thought of this adventure was frightening even with a radio, watch, and knife. (No life jackets - you must be kidding!)
When I received Joe's book in the mail, I ripped into the package with my car key
and sat in the parking lot at the Post Office burning
gas to keep cool to read the first chapter. Decided that was crazy - burning gas - so continued
running errands. At every stop, I read a few more pages, until finally, I gave up on checking off
errands and drove home to finish the book.
So, how are three fishermen going to save a man's marriage - a story within a story?
Like some, Joe was living the fast Hollywood lifestyle with the Porsche 911 and Harley
in the garage of a 6,000 sq. ft. house with a home theater "and a sound system that
could make the hair on your legs curl up, a beautful wife, and two adorable daughters
in private school." Trying to survive in the television industry, he was pitching and selling shows like Married
With Children, Mad About You, Walker Texas Ranger, Riki Lake, and the one that could really
bring home some bacon fatback, Seinfeld. Living the dream. He thought. Until
he had to have more booze and more pills to keep the fabulous lifestyle afloat. His time bomb was ticking -
he'd become his own terrorist and not far removed from self-detonating.
Giving it all up to move to Atlanta, he tried to deal with his demons but they were hanging in there like ugly on ape because obviously, they'd grown accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle too. The devil himself wouldn't want to be kicked out of the home theater.
When the story of three fishermen who'd survived nine months at sea came to his attention, the story was told to him with an ending, "And Joe, they had one book - a Bible - and they read it over and over."
After sinking to the depths of despair, Joe sought counseling, had an incredible God encounter - he'd
never before had a relationship with God, only a religion -
when he finally found joy and peace. He was able to salvage a marriage with a marvelous angel named Carmen, a
stand-by-your-man-kind-of-girl, who had hung in there through the crazy times.
The story is told every other chapter from Joe's first person point of view and then reverts back to third person when the fishermen are living their nightmare.
Having traveled to some of the places Joe had to go to get the story, I was immediately there with him, sweating it out in the Mexico City airport, my teeth jarring at every pot hole in the road outside of Puerta Vallarta, agonizing over the dust covered children playing on the side of the road, and I caught myself saying, "No Joe, do not drive after dark through the jungle on those back roads - are you kidding? You are going to get yourself killed and Carmen and the girls will never know what happened to you! ALTO! Habla Espanol?"
I felt a pang of sorrow when Carmen held the yard sale and the Seinfold posters were selling, and my heart ached for Joe even as he was having to get rid of his stuff - everything that was holding him captive.
And secretly, I was holding Carmen's hand when the 401K was being sucked down the drain. Even
through an economic downturn, the remarkable lady hung in there like a trooper with her man when they both stood to
lose everything. All sheer guts and bravado - no sign of glory on the horizon. Joe wouldn't have had
quite the redemption story if three fishermen hadn't held firm to
their faith, living on turtle blood, fish, urine and rain water, and counting on a mighty God to save.
The Fourth Fisherman was well written and kept me turning the pages nonstop, chuckling every now and then because I've asked some of the same questions and said some of the same things: "It was like one of those Southern Bible Belt, come-to-Jesus prayers, the kind where you call out for God's help knowing full well that if he doesn't show up, you're doomed." After reading that line I found myself saying, "Can I get a witness? and Amen brother!"
When Joe finally saw the light, there was no holding him back. And he gave all the glory to God.
You know it's a good read when you're warning the characters out loud. In Spanish. And you don't even speak the language. Well, not well enough to carry on a decent conversation - only enough to tell the taxi driver to turn around at the airport because you left your passport in the hotel room's lock box. Okay, I said alto and made lots of hand motions and said "chop-chop" if you must know the truth.
Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow? You guessed right if you said, "Checking off errands." In fact,
I'll be adding a few more things I'd forgotten to write down today. Things like: learn to eat raw fish and other
disgusting things - just in case. I might have to have a test before I have a testimony. Well, maybe I'll
try sushi and shark guts and fuggitabout the yucky stuff. Yeah right. Why don't I just write down "dog and cat food."
All novelists have to pen a few short stories every now and then.
Thanks for the book Joe - can't wait to see the movie!
BBC 2006 news article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4798243.stm
To view the promotional video go to: ahttp://www.thefourthfisherman.com/index.php/the-story/
Buy now at: www.thefourthfisherman.com
Joe Kissack is a speaker, author, screenwriter, film and television producer, publisher,
and entrepreneur. If you would like to have him speak at church or charitable events he
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org