To the Lighthouse is a novel about a boy named James Ramsay who is growing up during World War I. "The Window" opens up by telling us how James longs to go to the lighthouse that is just across the sea. He hates his father because he takes joy in being rude to his eight children and his wife, Mrs. Ramsay who would not say a mean word about anyone. The Ramsays' house a number of guests at their home in Hebrides. Mr. Tansley is a present day "understudy" of Mr. Ramsay who is a metaphysical philosopher who doesn't think his profession is impacting anyone. Mr. Tansley worships Mr. Ramsay because anything he says, Mr. Tansley is always backing him up no matter whose business he's intruding upon.
Lily Briscoe is also a guest at the home. She is a painter who like Mr. Ramsay feels her artistic abilities are getting her nowhere in life. She admires Mrs. Ramsay and starts a portrait of her, however never finishes it. Mrs. Ramsay introduced her to William Bankes who was a friend of the family. Her plan was to get them to marry one another but it did not work out that way. She did manage to arrange one wedding which was between Paul Rayley and Minta Doyle.
During the next chapter, "Time Passes", World War I spreads over Europe. The Ramsay's eldest son is killed in battle. Also one of their daughters, Prue died from a birth defect. During this chapter, Mrs. Ramsay passes away suddenly. James is left in a tough situation. He has to cope with the loss of his mother, but also come to the fact that his abusive father is the only one left. Through all of this misfortune, the summer house in the Hebrides is no longer visited.
Ten years pass and Mr. Ramsay decides to take James and James' sister, Cam to the lighthouse. James has turned into the kind of man that his father is, he is very moody and stubborn. When they get close to the shoreline to the lighthouse, bonding between son and father occurs. Mr. Ramsay is proud of his son because of person he came to be. Just as they arrive at the shore, Lily, the aspiring painter finishes one of her paintings.
I enjoyed this book overall. It was slow in the beginning but after the first few pages, I really came to enjoy reading it. It made me realize my life's worth even though my life has yet to start. No matter where it takes me, I now know to never give up and be persistent with what I like to do. If I continue on that path even with the bumps along the way, by the end my life with be put in perspective for me.