I haven’t been fishing since following a sweet boy down a wooded path to a lake on Witchtrot Road where I lived in South Berwick during high school. And yes, we caught fish–sun fish, those spiny, razor-sharp pond dwellers that are as common in Maine as they are inedible. After an hour or two of tossing them back we walked home. End of fishing story.

So, I was intrigued when Waterbrook Press offered me a review copy of Joe Kissack’s just released memoir/survival story, “The Fourth Fisherman: How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage.”

Not just one, but three people returning from the dead plus a changed life and saved marriage? The title made me think of the Biblical story of Jesus in a boat with his friends during the storm. Was He the fourth fisherman?

Kissack, an Atlanta screenwriter and film and television executive, tells a face-paced, easy to digest tale of his own face-paced, easy-to-digest life. A beautiful wife. A mini mansion. A sports car. An invitation to walk the Red Carpet. Kissack was living the American dream while also heavily drinking and popping pills to deal with the stress.

At the same time, five Mexican men set out in a small open boat without supplies for what was to be a short fishing trip. Roll the music for “Giligan’s Island.” A storm came up. They ran out of gas and got swept out to sea.

Using alternating chapters, Kissack interweaves his own struggle with the story of these fishermen, eventually turning to the Bible–as did they–to survive. The book is fast, inspiring, and a reminder that  whether we set out with little or much in our earthly adventure, it is where we place our hope that ultimately matters.

One element I found missing in Kissack’s memoir was the tangible presence of his wife, Carmen. It’s hard to respect the privacy of those we love–and  have hurt–while revealing the darkest moments of our lives. But somehow, Carmen came out as a one-dimensional shadow rather than a three-dimensional person with feelings, hopes, and dreams that I wanted to know about. Because of that, this book may appeal more to men than women. As for who is that fourth fisherman, you’ll have to read the end of the story to find out.

For a chance to win a hard-cover copy (provided by the publisher) of “The Fourth Fisherman,” post a comment anywhere on my blog by July 31st or subscribe to my RSS feed, and I will automatically enter your name in my monthly book drawings. I WILL NOT share your contact information or spam you!

You comments are the chocolate in my sauce! Thanks for reading!