This book was about a true life circumstance that happened in 2005. Five Mexican fisherman set out on a fishing trip. When a storm suddenly arose and snapped the lines to their valuable net, worth a year of one man’s wages, they desperately searched for it for two days, exhausting their fuel supply until returning to land was impossible. Unable to flag down passing boats for help, they were caught by the westward Pacific current. They would drift for more than 9 months – 5500 miles – battling starvation, dehydration, storms, and an unrelenting sun, with no idea if rescue would ever occur. One of the men on the boats had a Bible – and a strong faith in God, which the other fishermen gradually grew to accept.

This book was also a true life story about the author, Joe Kissack. He worked his way up in the TV business and became a very successful man, very put together on the outside. However when no one was looking he struggled with drinking, depression, and drugs – which put together became the ruin of his career and almost the ruin of his family, his marriage, and his life.

How, you ask, do these two stories connect? Let’s hear the answer in Kissack’s own words, as he talks about interviewing one of the fishermen:

“His transformation and my transformation are the same.

He was stranded in an ordeal on the Pacific and came back a new man. I was stranded on my own desperate pursuits and came through them a new man… We both ended up with an authentic desire to be the men God created us to be. Through the life of Jesus [one of the fishermen], I’d seen an image of myself. We each came to a moment of brokenness, and what we found there was God.

And He was enough.

We are all the same.”

 

The author did a good job with the pace of the story – it never got too slow and the writing was clean and easy to read. It was easy to hear in the book the sincerity of his conversion – his faith was not for gaining back the public attention that he had lost, or a momentary fad, but it was clear from his words that he did repent (that is, make a 180). I especially enjoyed the part where he talked about correcting the damage that had been done in his marriage, as his wife had endured a long and straining time where her husband was a wreck. Kissack manned up and set forth to fix their marriage the right way, as he wrote:

“It was time for me to become the husband she deserved and the man God had created me to be. I knew I could profess complete transformation and talk about miracles all day long, but the only way I was going to convince Carmen that I had changed was to show her a new man. I didn’t pray for God to change her; instead I prayed for God to change me.”

 

On the critical side, I personally would have preferred it if the author had spent a bit more time talking about the fishermen and expanding on their story. The tie between their stories was not as strong as I was expecting, either – it felt as if Kissack had to stretch to compare his wealthy American life that was damaged by depression and drugs against the trial of the fishermen, who had to drink their own urine, fend off sharks, and literally had nothing else to read or hope in but the Bible. I also felt that while Kissack’s faith was genuine, he still seemed a bit self-absorbed, as throughout the book he gave his story more room and more attention than the fishermen.

This book was well-written and a quick read, but not interesting enough as I had hoped, or that I would read it twice.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Multnomah-Waterbrook Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Advertisements