3 out of 4 stars
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"I would argue that there should not be any conflict between religion and science because, at the end of the day, both aim to find the truth of the reality of our existence and the destiny of our persistence."
It's All About Something by Alexander A. Villarasa, M.D. is a collection of philosophical essays and poetry. Villarasa begins most chapters with one of his poems to introduce the subject matter. The essays are primarily based on themes of religion and politics, and Villarasa reflects on topics such as free will, empiricism, unrequited love, faith, liberalism, destiny, leadership, and near-death experiences. He also shares fond memories of beloved family members and some humorous musings as well.
At the beginning of the book, Villarasa shared a little about his background. He was born and raised in the Philippines, and he and his wife came to the United States in 1975. As English was his second language, Villarasa previously faced some writing challenges. However, his anthology showcased his formal writing style and creative poetic expression.
Whether he was discussing religion, science, or politics, overall, Villarasa objectively considered both sides of an argument. At the same time, he expressed strong opinions about Obama, which could prove polarizing for some readers. However, it was his reflections of a more personal nature that I especially liked. In "The Old Country," Villarasa shared what it was like to return to the Philippines after an absence of seventeen years. He quite effectively conveyed the joy of reconnecting with the sights, smells, and tastes he and his wife remembered, as they viewed the country through their children's eyes. Particularly moving was "Family Triumvirate," in which Villarasa honored his mother, father, and grandmother. This chapter included the beautiful eulogy he gave at his mother's funeral.
I disliked Villarasa's verbosity. His sentences were excessively lengthy and often required rereading for clarity. At times, it seemed he got lost in own his words, as a few of the longer sentences were missing words or awkwardly phrased. In other instances, single sentences filled a paragraph, as illustrated in the following example:
"On the other hand, if we are to believe that the OT narratives are literally the Word of God, then we could correctly assume that God used these words with metaphorical intent because, if he actually described how the big bang occurred the way empiricists think it occurred, those ignorant sheepherders would never understand what a singularity is that was so dense that, when it started to expand, energy and mass (in the form of light waves made of subatomic particles) came into being."
Unfortunately, the excessive wordiness detracted from the book. Also, while it appeared to have been professionally edited, one of the errors presented an inconsistency in the timeline. At the beginning of the chapter, Villarasa mentioned that seven years had passed since he had returned to the Philippines. However, a few pages later, he wrote seventeen years instead, which the dates 1975-1992 confirmed.
Due to the above reasons, I rated the book three out of four stars. After he expressed his hesitation, Villarasa included two jokes that he had shared with parents before performing circumcisions on their baby boys. While he called the jokes "dirty," and one was sexually suggestive, I understood his intention to lighten the mood and appreciated that he forewarned readers. The book also contained a few instances of borderline profanity. Villarasa's reflections may appeal to a wide range of readers; a possible exception may apply to those who consider themselves extremely liberal.
It's All About Something
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