P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother

P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother

ABOUT Margo Bates

Margo Bates
Born & raised in British Columbia's Pacific Northwest. Live in the Metro Vancouver area now.  Owner of a public relations firm & write for a living. Author P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother & Queen of the Gated Community. You can take the girl out of the north, but not the north out More...


Nana Noonan is somewhat of a local legend in Canada's Pacific Northwest. Telkwa (Pop. 852) in the late 50's and early 60's is not much different from other small towns across North America.  Every town reluctantly owns a Nana.  Or wishes they did.  There are lots of things that get Nana going.  Telkwa's only Jehovah's Witness tops her list.  'That *&#$ Jehovah!' is the incessant phrase in the hundreds of letters Nana sends her 13-year old granddaughter, Maggie Mulvaney.  The Jehovah is hell-bent on saving Nana.  His high hopes on salvation equal her intent to remain as she is: hell-bent on being herself.  After all, she is an Anglican.  Nana tells Maggie to be fair to your fellow humans.  As long as they don't drive you to do something foolish.  Maggie has learned a lesson or two from Nana, and writes Nana about how she might better deal with the Jehovah.  The townsfolk place bets on when Nana and the Jehovah will have their next set-to.  Cash exchanges hands on a fairly regular basis.  Only two people visit Nana more than her family: Constable Reems of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and her ill-fated devotee, who drops by every Saturday, rain, shine, sleet or snow.  Nana and the Jehovah reach a stalemate one fall day in 1960.  Her Irish temper and accuracy with a gun is what gets Nana into trouble.  And Telkwa isn't the same without Nana Noonan.  Or that *&#$ Jehovah!

“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

"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 and Grandma Mulvaney's lemon meringue."
Sylvia Taylor, Writer, Editor, Instructor and Regional Director, Federation of BC Writers

"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

"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 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 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 Director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop


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

...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

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 Mrs. 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 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 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

"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 some one 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 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.

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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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 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.... 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