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What people are saying about P.S. Don’t Tell Your Mother

“I love the way Margo Bates captures the essence and eccentricities of life in a small northern town, as she highlights the conspiratory relationship between a young girl and her kooky grandmother. As someone who grew up in the north, I can relate to the quirky characters and comical scenarios that are so much a part of small town life. Everyone needs a bit of Nana in their lives!”
Gloria Macarenko, Anchor, CBC Television News

"Oral history and storytelling doesn't often easily translate into the written word. But Margo Bates has done that with this irreverent account of life in northwestern B.C. in the late 1950s. Told through the eyes of a young girl with the use of letters between her and her grandmother, Bates not only lays out the life of a family back then but provides a social history of the area. That kind of history all too often gets lost as the years move on and Bates has done a valuable service by letting us know how things were."
Rod Link, Publisher/Editor, Terrace Standard

"I… found myself chuckling a lot at Maggie's exploits and observations—[P.S. Don’t Tell Your Mother is] a charming snapshot of life in the northwest; a warm and amusing peek inside young girl's mind and her relationship with her opinionated "Nana” and Nana’s adventures with barn owls, evenings at the Royal Canadian Legion, and grandma Mulvaney's secret ingredient for her pumpkin pies! And of course that darned Jehovah! I know these people—I know this place.”
John Crawford, News Director, CFTK Radio/Television, Terrace BC

"... I loved your writing style — it reminded me a little of one of my favorite novels, Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg."
Judge's commentary, 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards

"A funny and fabulous first book! ‘P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother’ will make anyone who's lived in or visited a small town laugh out loud. I can't wait for the next one!"
Randene Neill, Anchor, Global Television News

"A rollicking good read that serves up a slice of BC's Wild West as tart and sweet as Grandma Mulvaney's lemon meringue."
Sylvia Taylor, Writer, Editor, Instructor and Regional Director, Federation of BC Writers

“Margo Bates is one of those rare people with the ability to put the F-U-N in dysfunctional, even if her family history makes me wonder about the wisdom of ringing her doorbell.”
Gordon Kirkland, Syndicated Columnist & Entertainer and Author of “When My Mind Wanders It Brings Back Souvenirs”

"Margo Bates has the finest ear for dialogue and human emotions I've heard since leaving Dixie to read her delightful work. The woman must be part Southern the way she can tell a story and work in every delicious detail!!! I loved Nana, Maggie and the entire cast of characters populating this part-fiction, part real slice of life - no matter what your country, religion or color - this is as fun as it gets. So climb on board and get ready for one heck of a ride!”
Susan Reinhardt, Author of the humor best-seller "Not Tonight Honey Wait 'Til I'm a Size 6”

"Margo Bates takes you back to 1960 -- a simpler time but one in which things aren't always as they appear. ’P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother' provides a fascinating view of the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter."
Tim Bete, author of “In The Beginning...There Were No Diapers” and former Director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

P.S. Don’t Tell Your Mother by Margo Bates was chosen as ‘required summer reading’ by futurist and thought leader Ann Coombs, for The Living Workplace Newsletter June 1, 2006 edition. Circulation: 250,000 worldwide.

Rex Murphy’s CBC Radio Cross Country Checkup included P.S. Don’t Tell Your Mother by Margo Bates on the 2006 Summer Reading List Caller’s Suggestions for its twice-yearly ‘what makes a good read’ list. 

 "With so many books in the world, I generally reserve my repeat reads to certain timeless classics. An exception to that rule is P.S. Don’t Tell Your Mother by Margo Bates. I’ve read it three times thus far and it occupies a permanent place on my “favorites” shelf.  Margo Bates is a gifted writer and a natural story teller with a phenomenal memory for detail. Her colorful characters and the relationships between them make for both rich and relatable reading. The story takes place in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s and will strike a chord with anyone who grew up in that time. The Northern British Columbia setting is different enough (for us non-Canadians) to add interest while reminding that life and trouble in other places and times is not all that different. I love the way the author sneaks in little bits and pieces of the story through the (sometimes naïve) narrative of young Maggie, and in the letters between her and her wacky-but-loveable Nana. A crack shot, Nana sometimes lets her Irish temper get the better of her. That’s especially true with respect to “That Damn Jehovah” who keeps trying to save her. Oh My.  This book will appeal to anyone who misses the sweet innocence of another time. To those who like slightly off-center characters, and to anyone who loves to laugh. It’s a charming, fun book with carefully disguised depth – and you’ll probably recognize a relative or two along the way.  I hope we’ll see more from Margo Bates. She stands a very good chance of being ranked as one of our great contemporary authors."
Karen K. M., Muncie, Indiana

Audio Book:  "Margo has an excellent speaking voice-just the right timbre and clarity. Believe me, that was important because I "read" the audio book while recovering from a head injury. I couldn't read the old-fashioned way and I couldn't tolerate loud noises. Her letters kept me entertained and interested throughout. Margo has a way of telling a story that brings it to life and makes you feel like you know all the people and are a part of the family! The humor was especially appreciated. Thanks Margo for thinking audio!"
Lois B., Vancouver, British Columbia

"...I just wanted to thank you for making my long weekend extremely enjoyable! I picked up your book at the library (sorry didn't buy a copy) quite by chance on Thursday and have spent all my free time devouring the story since then... (the ice rink so far is my fave). I love the way you write, the Irish in you is evident. My favourite authors have always been the Irish ones who weave tales about colourful characters, (Roddy Doyle especially). Well done, I do hope there are more like it and I would like to think if we had met then and there we would have been friends! Bravo!"
Angela C., Surrey, British Columbia

"Wow. I really enjoyed your book, a lot. It sort of crept up on me, but by the time I got to the climactic scene, I was thoroughly involved.  For a long time, I was wondering, "Am I liking this, just cuz I know the people, the area," but in the end, I think it's a wonderful piece of writing.  Real Canadiana.  Congratulations on a fine job."
Clay B., Professor, Tokiwa University, Japan

"I've read your book and was laughing out loud (late at night, trying not to disturb my neighbours) in numerous places.  I really felt I was part of that community ..."  Anne H., White Rock, British Columbia

"Your book arrived yesterday and I'm enjoying it immensely. I read in bed last night, on the exercise bike this morning, and even in the loo. I'd probably read it in the bathtub but don't want to get the pages all wrinkly. Your characters are rich, wonderful, and eccentric, and I feel like I'm right there with them. Thank you so much for this!"
Jeanie H, Meadow Vista, California

"Your book left me with so many warm cozy feelings. You were so lucky to have such a good relationship with your nana. Back to your book, I can relate totally about the bra stuff. I remember going into the store with mom and the (thank god) lady measuring me. How degrading - at least it wasn't a man - poor you. Mostly I remember the song playing on the radio in the store. "Pretty Woman". Every time I hear that song guess where my memories go. There were so many good stories in your book; I can hardly wait till the next one!!!!!"
Randy P., Abbotsford, British Columbia

"Hello Margo, After reading your splendid book I feel that I have known you for a long time and dare to take the liberty of this informal address rather than 'Dear Ms. Bates'. My daughter in Prince George found your book and now it goes around our family as it brings up many memories of our 54 years in Canada. My wife and two daughters came with me from The Netherlands in 1952, straight to Prince Rupert. After we got our first car in 1956 we traveled Highway 16 numerous times and spend a lot of time with friends at Round Lake. We met a family that moved there when we were on board of the MV Rijndam as we came across from Rotterdam to Halifax. We visited the Motel-Restaurant between here and Terrace numerous times before it got wiped out by a slide. Your book brought up memories of the best apple-pie we ever tasted there. Thanks for your time and please let us know if and when we can expect your next writing."
Harry S., Prince Rupert, British Columbia

"I am an avid reader and coming from South Africa love to lay my hands on anything Canadian, when I saw your book on my boss’s desk, I told him to read up and pass on to me. He kindly gave it to me to read first (read in a couple of evenings), laughing my head off, I have now returned it to him with rave reviews. What a lovely, funny and heartwarming book with characters very easy to relate to. I have told a couple of my friends about your book … would love … to know when you have another book out."
Tammy R, Vancouver

"Charming book. I got so many laughs out of it. It was such a good read … I was in the hospital for some tests Thursday and Friday and I had a few hours each day to pass so I took the book. Well of course, one cannot help but laugh out loud at some of the antics that went on in the book, especially the one about the CESSPOOL. No one knew quite why I was splitting a gut laughing so I read a few paragraphs out loud to the people in the waiting room. I ended up writing out the name of the book and the author for 7 people. I have given the book to my mom to read and when she is finished I told my daughter she needs to read it … My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough and yet it ended so well. I just wanted more laughs."
Heather B., Surrey BC

'I have just this minute finished reading your book. It is marvelous. My sister bought it for me for Christmas. I am from Hazelton and the ‘Pikes’ were like family to us. ‘Hank Pike’ and my dad worked together at the hospital for many, many years. I remember 'Mrs. Noonan' very well … Looking forward to another book soon. Thank you for all the chuckles."
Anne R., Vancouver Island, British Columbia

"I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a book so much! … It was hard to put down and I found myself racing from letter to letter to hear more and more of the happenings in Telkwa and the wonderful relationship between Nana Noonan and Maggie. How I can relate to ‘The Jehovah’ … I had just such a pest when we lived in the country, and would hide within the curtains until he would leave. (Fortunately, I did not have a gun.) I’ll look forward to your next book."
Peg T., Stouffville ON

"To be honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy it because I didn’t think it was really my type of book given the type of books I normally read. But, it was really well done and like any good story, ropes you in till you can’t put it down and are left very moved. The stories also rang true to someone like me, coming from a small community. Top job."
Cyrus, London, England (Formerly from New Zealand)

"This is a wonderful story of a multi-generational family brought to life through the loving, humourous storytelling of Margo Bates. The descriptions of the small town life in northern BC and its characters rings true. My daughter, city born and bred, delighted in reading the book as much as I did. This is a story of love, acceptance, tolerance and most of all: family…"
Michelle F., Terrace BC

"I LOVED THE BOOK! It was charming and brought a smile to my face many times - good work and great writing!!!"
Susan C., Vancouver BC

"I totally enjoyed this easy read of a young girl's relationship with her eccentric grandmother in the '60s. Lots of references to stuff from that era that I had forgotten about. Funny. Perfect choice for a rainy afternoon and a comfy couch. The 'fur follies' were hilarious - check it out!"
Alison G. White Rock, BC

"I finished reading your book today, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm already looking forward to the next one."
Susan K., Terrace BC

"Read your book on the beach and thoroughly enjoyed it. It took me back to my own childhood - first bra experiences and young girl crushes. It made me remember how simple things were then, how easily we were pleased and how exciting life could be. Your grandmother's exploits are hilarious! Makes me wish I had more details about my own grandmother's bootlegging career. Thanks for the 'laugh out loud' belly laughs. You'll be interested to know that my 'private' laughing fits got people interested in what I was reading."
Marlene R., Surrey BC

"Just wanted to say a big congratulations for last night [at your book launch]… you were in fine form and it was truly a fun event… lots of people, lots of laughs and best of all, lots of praise for your book."
Rachael F-Z., Vancouver BC

"What a hoot! [My] friend that was with me that day read the book as soon as we got home. She chuckled all the way through it; as we all did. The book gave me a very good down home feeling. All my best for future books. I like your sense of humour."
Moira L., Terrace BC

"Sorry I missed your book launch. I’ve been really sick. After my husband brought me a copy last night I lay down and opened the book. As I got to the 'cesspool' incident, I laughed so hard I lost most of my voice and was coughing so hard I had to put the book down. I finished it this morning. Congratulations, I know you have a winner on your hands and I can't wait for your second book."
Judy B., Langley BC

"Finally picked [your book] up at 1 am a couple of days ago - didn't put it down, couldn't put it down until I closed the back cover …!!! Just dragged me deeper and deeper into its world ... well done ... you should be very proud of your achievement."
Peter S., London England

"My wife now tells me I am having an ‘M.B.’ moment. In many cases, I go back to your book, and get involved in reading it, when I was supposed to do something around the house. Good thing my wife already read the story, so we can both laugh again."
Tony M., Surrey BC

"I just finished reading your book and LOVED it!! I can't ever remember laughing out loud so many times when reading a book! It was fantastic! I guess it helps when you can see so many similarities between your family and the characters in the book...I don't know if that is good or bad. And what do you know... after being raised with the word, I now know how to spell Jee-zuz H. Kee-Rist!"
Debbie S., Surrey BC

"Finished the book on the beaches in Maui. What a wonderful book. Took me back to our days in Vanderhoof. Loved Nana - what a wonderful woman. Her family and community were so important. Her spirit, her sense humour and how she knew everyone else's [business] ... You show us how even in small towns people need to keep busy and their minds active. Best of all - I loved the way you have written the book. I will be watching for the next one..."
Pam O., Surrey BC

Thank you so much for a very entertaining few nights. It was the perfect break to my study (which I have now completely finished). It was a Real story with lovable and stroppy characters. The language made it so much alive. Please keep writing. I can see how valuable the book is in historical terms- full of small town celebrations and gossip. Great.
Diana K. Wellington, New Zealand 

ON P.S. DON'T TELL YOUR MOTHER  by K. Schmitt -- Looking for an entertaining read with lots of humour thrown in? Read Margo Bates' P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother! For history buffs Bates offers a fascinating view of life in Northwestern British Columbia in the 1950s and 60s, with a dash of ingenuity and imagination tossed in. P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother offers readers a series of letters between Maggie, an independent-minded adolescent girl and her saucy, shoot-from-the-hip grandmother Nana NooNana (well, she only shot an actual gun once in the story). Nana, who calls a spade a spade and more, manages to propel herself into perpetual confrontation with her small-town Telkwa neighbours. Not the least of these is “that damn Jehovah,” the only person in town who demonstrates the capacity to stand up to her. Anyone who has ever lived in a small town, or anyone who has imagined they might want to, will get the real picture in this story of the petty quarrels, competitions, and surprising human tenderness that reveal the way life flows with lots of ripples in places like Telkwa, B. C. Bates tells the story with laugh-outloud wit and humor. P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother is fun and easy to read, with short chapters suitable for reading on the go, but a straight read-through would be just as good, as long as the reader doesn't get too hoarse with all the laughing at once.




 

NEWS + EVENTS

Pitching Your Story - Wed Jan 10 at Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver

How do you balance the need to convey the essence of a story with the need to avoid bogging down in detail? Margo will show writers how to make the most of a ten-minute pitch session. read more...

TWS Community Workshops: Research for Fiction and Non-Fiction with Margo Bates

SFU The Writer's Studio Community Workshop: Research for Fiction and Non-Fiction. Location: SFU Vancouver Campus, Harbour Centre Date and Time: Sat Jan 13, 2018 from 10 am to 1 pm Cost: $30 read more...

Workshops & Speaking Engagements

Margo speaks to groups and students on a variety of topics. She's developed these workshops for authors: It's All About YOU - Marketing yourself and your work, Research - The key to writing fiction and non-fiction. What a Character! Humour Writing and Sto read more...

Book Clubs

Margo speaks to Book Clubs in person or via Skype. read more...

Review on PS Don't Tell Your Mother by Kathleen Schmitt

Anyone ... gets the real picture [of life in a small town] in this story of the petty quarrels, competitions, and surprising human tenderness that reveal the way life flows with lots of ripples in Telkwa BC. ... Fun and easy to read ... read more...

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