Tina Ontiveros was born into a family with logging on both sides: a mother who spent summers driving logging trucks for her family’s operation, and a father born to an itinerant logger and raised in a variety of lumber towns, as Tina herself would be. rough house is a story of growing up in turmoil, of a childhood split between a charming, mercurial, abusive father in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and a mother struggling with poverty in The Dalles. It is also a story of generational turmoil, especially for the women of her family, of violent men and societal restrictions, of children not always chosen and frequently raised alone.
Ontiveros’s father, Loyd, looms large in rough house. Late in the memoir, as she considers Loyd’s recent death and long absence from her life, Ontiveros writes, “I had this ridiculous hope that I would get to enjoy a functional relationship with my father, on my own terms, now that I was an adult.” rough house is her attempt to carve out this relationship, to understand her father and her family from an adult perspective and on her own terms.
While elements of her memoir are universal, others are indelibly grounded in the logging camps of the Pacific Northwest as the lumber industry changes and contracts. Tracing her childhood through the working class towns and forests of Washington and Oregon, Ontiveros explores themes of love and loss, parents and children, and her own journey to a different kind of adulthood.
About the Author
Tina Ontiveros is a writing instructor at Columbia Gorge Community College, book buyer at Klindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles, and president of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association.