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The Book

It’s All About Something

This engrossing anthology, ranging from unrequited love to the big bang and quantum mechanics, promises something to get lost in and remember.

Alex still continues to find fulfillment with family and life, devoted to children patients, traveling, playing golf, singing, dancing, and doing civic projects in his hometown, Palm Springs, California, which has voted him one of its one hundred top doctors for seven years now.

As to writing, the muse will always be with him.

 

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Book Reviews

Pacific Book Review

A successful physician examines his life with poetry and philosophical speculation in Dr. Alexander Villarasa’s book titled It’s All About Something. Dr. Villarasa came to the US with his wife and first child after he had completed medical school in the Philippines. Settling, permanently as it turned out, in salubrious southern California, he followed the path which his studies and determination led him to, and now in his late sixties, shares the knowledge he has garnered. After a brief, strictly biographical segment about his early years, Dr. Villarasa turns quickly to chapters comparable to short essays, most of
which begin with self-composed poems.

His interests range widely, with two major themes predominating: religion and politics. He holds to a strong belief in God and in the soul and divine creationism, informed by his understanding of science. He often quotes Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, two men who included in their study of the universe an oblique expression of God’s hand in the plan. The author’s political stance is solidly conservative. He offers a definition of “Trumpism” as “Triumphalism.” He spends more than two chapters enumerating the mistakes of Barack Obama, who he feels certain, was elected only because of his ability to “speechify.” He criticizes most doctors for being greedy, and some psychologists (Oprah, Dr. Phil) for being charlatans. He suggests the Age of Reason has given way to the “Age of Treason,” in which moral values have been lost. He praises his fellow Filipino immigrants who even in the lax atmosphere of US culture manage to raise their children with respect for moral values (though he also considers that the US is still the best place on earth to raise a family).

The personal memories in this collection stand out for their well-expressed sentiment. In a section about streets, the author decides to buy a house that has a view somehow reminiscent of his father’s farm. A two week visit to the Philippines after an absence of 17 years is another highlight; contrasting his impressions and those of his wife with their childhood recollections, to those of his children who are seeing, hearing and smelling a foreign country jarringly different from where they are being raised.

In later segments, Dr. Villarasa lists activities which he has gradually incorporated into his new life of retirement, including golf and travel. Writing is of course one of these new pursuits; his book an admirable testament to the intelligence and linguistic sensitivity of someone for whom English is a second language. He also speaks of his physical ailments (“The Doctor as Patient”) and offers some medical humor. Dr.

Villarasa’s over-arching hope is that the force of creativity may help humans overcome some of their more disrupting, egoistic drives and lead us to what he engagingly terms “global exhilaration.”
 

US Review of Books

“In this our age of complexities and perplexities, good intentions are no longer the be-all and end-all of human action. Actions have consequences…”

In this, the author’s first published book, early chapters are stories from his youth growing up in the Philippines. Similar is the chapter “Streets and Remembrances” about homes where the author, his nurse wife, and family have lived in southern California since 1977. Unlike a memoir, this book is more a group of meditations on topics popular due to modern advancements.

The author always wanted to be a pediatrician; his wife wished to live in America. They arrived stateside in time for him to take his residencies in Los Angeles. As a pediatrician, he writes several chapters relevant to parents, such as how the American attitude regarding corporal punishment changed due to Dr. Spock’s child-rearing book of the 1950s. Knowing that the subject of circumcision can be unsettling, he opts to tell circumcision jokes. He also comments on the current status of universal healthcare in America. Other chapters take on creationism, evolution, nature as a pantheistic god, the universe, and big bang theories. Quoting Einstein and Stephen Hawking, the author concludes that if the universe had a start, it must have an end… as well as an initiating impulse.

Villarasa reveals himself as an entertainer and teacher, alternating between discussions on near-death experiences, angels, and the benefits of golf and Karaoke. Clearly, Villarasa enjoys speaking out about challenging issues. Respecting his audience, he patiently engages the reader’s mind by presenting thoughts and opinions of noted thinkers on controversial subjects. While contrasting the ego and soul, the author references Freud, Jung, and Adler. With English as his second language, deeper subjects cause him to default to using words that rhyme and are polysyllabic to convey meaning with emotion. Readers are not likely to mind since the author acknowledges this habit. Villarasa deserves praise for bravely tackling some of the weightier topics known to mankind.
 

It’s All About Something

It’s All About Something