The Bus on Thursday

The Bus on Thursday

Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist in this wickedly funny, dark novel about one woman’s post-cancer retreat to a remote Australian town and the horrors awaiting herIt wasn’t just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett’s life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it.One day she felt a bit of a bump when she was scratching her armpit at work. T...

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Title:The Bus on Thursday
Author:Shirley Barrett
Rating:

The Bus on Thursday Reviews

  • Simon

    Not everyone will love this but I have cackled, gasped and been really moved by this disturbing yet poignant horror with heart. So different from her debut but just as bloody good.

  • Dennis

    I have never read a humor-horror novel that has entertained me as much as

    ! Eleanor Mellett lives near Sydney, Australia and is an elementary school teacher. Three months after her break up from her long-term boyfriend, Josh, Eleanor finds a lump by her armpit. After Eleanor gets the bump checked out, she is told that she has breast cancer and it must be removed. Healing from her surgery, Eleanor has found herself in a deepressed, lonely, and desperate. After she gets an imp

    I have never read a humor-horror novel that has entertained me as much as

    ! Eleanor Mellett lives near Sydney, Australia and is an elementary school teacher. Three months after her break up from her long-term boyfriend, Josh, Eleanor finds a lump by her armpit. After Eleanor gets the bump checked out, she is told that she has breast cancer and it must be removed. Healing from her surgery, Eleanor has found herself in a deepressed, lonely, and desperate. After she gets an implant and has been

    , Eleanor has hiccups in the road in terms of her personal (sex) and professional life. Ready to run away from it all, Eleanor is given the opportunity to work as a primary school teacher in a remote town, outside of the city life that Eleanor has become frustrated with.

    Eleanor moves to small town Talbingo, and immediately is drawn the quirks and oddities of the townspeople. The small town's primary school teacher, Miss Barker, has vanished abruptly over night, and the town seems a little off their rocker.

    Eleanor begins to question her presence in Talbingo after realizing that there's no WiFi, no cell service, and that there's a lot of super questionable people watching her every move.

    is being called "

    " and I can totally see why. I would have said "Bridget Jones meets The Shining", but you catch my drift. Eleanor is witty, sarcastic, and thoroughly entertaining. In fact, Eleanor is probably one of my most loved protagonists I've ever read about. She's flawed, but owns her mistakes; she's careless, but also doesn't care what people think about her; and she's honest with who she is as a person, while also defensive over her honor when called out by others. This narrator is unreliable, but not dishonest. There's no secret plot loopholes thrown in as a twist or any dramatic turn of events for a quick shock. Eleanor is someone who I would love to be friends with, if she were real. While the story wasn't necessarily scary, there were some creepy elements to keep the story engaging. I would say that

    is more comedic than scary, but overall a great tale. Readers will be divided on what takes place on the ending, so if you pick this up—LET'S TALK!

    Thank you Astoria Bookshop and MCD/Farrar Straus and Giroux for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

    will be released on September 18, 2018.

  • Mindi

    This book was provided by the publisher to the Night Worms reading group in exchange for an honest review.

    This book! Two of the Night Worms finished it before me, and said to let them know if anyone else finished soon because they NEEDED to talk about it. So I stayed up until about midnight finishing it, and then I needed to talk about it too. So we do. Because that ending! And we finally decided we still don't really quite know what happened.

    This is one of the strangest books (in the best way)

    This book was provided by the publisher to the Night Worms reading group in exchange for an honest review.

    This book! Two of the Night Worms finished it before me, and said to let them know if anyone else finished soon because they NEEDED to talk about it. So I stayed up until about midnight finishing it, and then I needed to talk about it too. So we do. Because that ending! And we finally decided we still don't really quite know what happened.

    This is one of the strangest books (in the best way) that I've read in a long time. Eleanor Mellett is a quirky elementary school teacher who has her life turned upside down with a cancer diagnosis. After Eleanor goes through a number of surgeries and chemotherapy she's left incredibly depressed and lonely. Her boyfriend broke up with her shortly before her diagnosis, and her friends are unsupportive and caught up in their own lives. Feeling alone and desperate Eleanor jumps at the chance to teach at a very small school in the tiny rural town of Talbingo. Once Eleanor moves, things get really weird. And I'll just leave it at that.

    The story is told in blog entries by Eleanor that she has no intention of ever posting. The book blurb says that this story is like "Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist" but I don't entirely think that's true. It's been a long time since I read

    , but Eleanor makes Bridget seem sensible. There are a number of paranormal and speculative aspects to this novel, but I'm not quite seeing the comparisons to

    .

    is laugh-out-loud funny, disturbing, confusing, and downright weird. And I'm here for all of that. The Night Worms will probably spend quite a bit of time talking about this one. I know I'll be thinking about it for a while too.

  • Marianne

    The Bus on Thursday is the second novel by prize-winning Australian screenwriter, director and author, Shirley Barrett. It starts with a lump in her armpit, and before Eleanor Mellett knows it, she’s had a mastectomy (thank you, George Clooney look-alike), has a fake breast (without nipple, so far), is jobless, fiancé-less and living with mum. She’s on hormones for the cancer and anti-depressants (who wouldn’t be?!), and has given up the breast cancer support group as a bad joke.

    When Miss Barke

    The Bus on Thursday is the second novel by prize-winning Australian screenwriter, director and author, Shirley Barrett. It starts with a lump in her armpit, and before Eleanor Mellett knows it, she’s had a mastectomy (thank you, George Clooney look-alike), has a fake breast (without nipple, so far), is jobless, fiancé-less and living with mum. She’s on hormones for the cancer and anti-depressants (who wouldn’t be?!), and has given up the breast cancer support group as a bad joke.

    When Miss Barker, the much-loved teacher at Talbingo’s one-room school (just 11 students), goes missing, Eleanor steps into the breach. She arrives at the tiny village in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains to be greeted by tearful students and a tearful assistant: this devoted teacher has certainly left Eleanor a high standard to live up to. But is this city girl ready for it? Has she come to terms with her loss? And no mobile reception, no wi-fi, really??

    Eleanor will strike most readers as rather immature in both thought and deed: thirty-two going on sixteen for much of the story. While still in the city, she seems to be sane, if rather self-centred and entitled; when she gets to Talbingo, however, things start to get weird, and it’s difficult to say whether there’s something strange going on in the town, or whether Eleanor’s medications are causing her strange dreams/hallucinations, or a bit of both.

    This is Eleanor’s private blog, written without any intention for it to be shared: the voice, Eleanor admits, is a “horrible snarky” one, all smart-arse funny-angry, so the reader cops a good number of expletives, both in thought and word, and while it may sound natural for this character, some are likely to be offended at her frequent use of the f-bomb (although the blurb gives fair warning).

    The story is compelling, sort of like a runaway train about to wreck: you can’t look away because there’s a morbid fascination for what bizarre thing Eleanor will encounter next and, maybe more pertinently, how she will react to it. It becomes apparent, soon after Eleanor’s arrival in Talbingo that this is not going to be any sort of a girl-finds-maturity-through-trauma story. That established, the reader can submit to the blackly funny moments as they occur. Yes, the Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist with a dash of Maria Semple description is probably accurate.

    This one is very different from Barret’s debut novel, Rush Oh! which is also set in a real town (how do the residents of Talbingo feel about the way they are portrayed?), and the rather abrupt ending may not please all readers, but those who have embraced the tenor of the tale will see it as very fitting. Barrett manages to include demons, dandelion leaves and decoupage, weird theories on cancer, a severed hand, and a teacher who shared more than cupcakes with her students. An original, at times hilarious and weirdly engrossing read.

    This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Allen&Unwin.

  • Emily

    I want to say this up front - the back of The Bus on Thursday describes this book as Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist. Just know going in that it's heavier on the Bridget Jones & lighter on The Exorcist (actually, I didn't really see much of The Exorcist at all). At first, I didn't really consider The Bus on Thursday to be a horror novel even though that's what it's being marketed as. After discussion with my review group, I noticed a few more things that I hadn't really thought about before

    I want to say this up front - the back of The Bus on Thursday describes this book as Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist. Just know going in that it's heavier on the Bridget Jones & lighter on The Exorcist (actually, I didn't really see much of The Exorcist at all). At first, I didn't really consider The Bus on Thursday to be a horror novel even though that's what it's being marketed as. After discussion with my review group, I noticed a few more things that I hadn't really thought about before. This book is more layered than I realized upon first read, and although we were left with questions, I've had a lot of fun talking about this book with friends. I think overall it may be a humorous speculative fiction novel, but I'm really interested to see what other people thing. I believe there's quite a bit that's open to interpretation.

    The Bus on Thursday is funny. The narrator gets into ridiculous situations, and handles them with a good sense of humor. It was easy to like her, and it was easy to become interested in the small town she moves to. A lot of things about her were relatable, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

    This book is told in a blogging format, and it's like hearing from your friend. I liked the setup of the book, and I think that it worked really well with the story that was being told. Everything flowed, and it was easy to connect with.

    I think the ending may have gone over my head a bit. As I said, after discussing with friends, I feel like I understand some things, but have questions on others. The Bus on Thursday is a book that will stick with you & you may find yourself thinking over parts of the plot later on. I would definitely read more from Shirley Barrett, and I'm interested to see what else she comes up with.

  • Cody | codysbookshelf

    Thanks to FSG Originals for providing the Night Worms free copies of this book, in exchange for honest reviews. This is mine.

    is a strange and quirky and invigorating read about a scattered young teacher recovering from breast cancer. She gets a job at a small school in the Australian mountains, and she moves to the tiny town where things are strange and darkly funny occurrences happen.

    I quite enjoyed this book, more than I expected to. The blog format made for quick, snappy r

    Thanks to FSG Originals for providing the Night Worms free copies of this book, in exchange for honest reviews. This is mine.

    is a strange and quirky and invigorating read about a scattered young teacher recovering from breast cancer. She gets a job at a small school in the Australian mountains, and she moves to the tiny town where things are strange and darkly funny occurrences happen.

    I quite enjoyed this book, more than I expected to. The blog format made for quick, snappy reading and I dug the main character, Eleanor. She was easy to like and I wanted the best for her — isn’t that all anyone can ask for in a protagonist?

    I must admit I was not a fan of the ending — it was peculiar and unclear. Things don’t have to be spelled out for me, but the ending felt vague for the sake of vagueness. In fact, the light supernatural aspects of the story felt shoehorned in overall, and I could have done without them.

    is out on 9/18!

  • Paromjit

    If you are looking for a crazy and bonkers read, this piece of weird fiction by Aussie Shirley Barrett might just be for you. There are elements of romance and comic humour, infused with a large dollop of horror, think Bridget Jones crossed with The Shining. Eleanor Mellet has broken up with Josh, her long term boyfriend because he didn't want children, when she discovers she has an aggressive form of breast cancer that throws her life off the rails. Eleanor is snarky, sweary and surly, as her c

    If you are looking for a crazy and bonkers read, this piece of weird fiction by Aussie Shirley Barrett might just be for you. There are elements of romance and comic humour, infused with a large dollop of horror, think Bridget Jones crossed with The Shining. Eleanor Mellet has broken up with Josh, her long term boyfriend because he didn't want children, when she discovers she has an aggressive form of breast cancer that throws her life off the rails. Eleanor is snarky, sweary and surly, as her cancer causes her to lose her teaching position. She is beyond upset when she has to undergo a masectomy that plays havoc with her sense of identity. Her friends are proving to be of little comfort, costing her money as she plays the role of bridesmaid to best friend, Sally, and her self esteem takes a battering when a date with Harry, the hairlip, turns into a disaster. In a narrative consisting of blogs, we follow Eleanor as she takes up a life saver of a working role, teaching in the remote town of Talbingo, population 241, in the foothills of the beautiful Snowy Mountains.

    Talbingo seems the perfect spot to recover from cancer, albeit the locals are more than a little offbeat. The priest, Friar Eugene Hernandez, 'the Praying Mantis' seems a trifle insane when he blames Eleanor for her cancer, convinced that her cancer is caused by demons she has inadvertently let into her life. Eleanor is in charge of 11 students of varying ages, replacing their previous teacher, Miss Barker, who is beloved by all in the community. She was a caring, conscientious, sharing and nurturing, the perfect teacher, everything in fact, that Eleanor is not. Miss Barker disappeared one night, leaving Talbingo bewildered and the children feeling unsettled wondering what happened to her. As Eleanor tries discreetly to imbibe her bottles of wine, events take a surreal and hallucinatory turn when it is unclear whether Eleanor is several sandwiches short of a picnic or if Talbingo is just a magnet for horror.

    This was certainly a funny, strange, dark and odd read, perfect if you are looking for something different to read. It has a memorable central character in Eleanor, who may or may not be experiencing mental health issues after being afflicted with breast cancer. She may well be the teacher from hell in comparison to the previous incumbent, but in spite of this, Eleanor seems to be following the well trodden and dangerous path of her predecessor, the esteemed Miss Barker. Shirley Barrett has written a wildly entertaining novel that I must admit to thoroughly enjoying, although perhaps it may not be to everyone's taste. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Barb (Boxermommyreads)

    I will be honest and admit that this is a hard book for me to review. On one hand, I loved it. The main character, Eleanor, is snarky and sarcastic and since the book is told from first-person blog form, the reader gets plenty of her attitude. On the other hand though, it kind of has am ambiguous tone to it. Is all the crazy stuff really happening or is Eleanor slowly falling off her rocker?

    Shortly after being dumped by her boyfriend of four years, Eleanor learns she has breast cancer. After ove

    I will be honest and admit that this is a hard book for me to review. On one hand, I loved it. The main character, Eleanor, is snarky and sarcastic and since the book is told from first-person blog form, the reader gets plenty of her attitude. On the other hand though, it kind of has am ambiguous tone to it. Is all the crazy stuff really happening or is Eleanor slowly falling off her rocker?

    Shortly after being dumped by her boyfriend of four years, Eleanor learns she has breast cancer. After over a year of treatment, she is ready to move on and lands the job of a lifetime as a teacher in the small community of Talbingo. However, things quickly become very weird and before long, Eleanor is having late night sexual encounters with one of her student's brothers and the local friar is trying to exorcise her of the demon which caused her cancer.

    As I mentioned, I really liked Eleanor but let's be honest, there's a whole lot of crazy going on in this book. I can see where some might become easily irritated with Eleanor and her foul mouth and moods, but I didn't and I was really cheering her on. There is a small mystery as to what happened to the original teacher Eleanor replaced and I would like to say I now know what happened, but I don't.

    I'd say this book is pretty light on horror but deep down, it may have deeper horror roots than originally thought. So am I confusing you? Welcome to the bus. However, even with all this, I really enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down.

    I do feel if people like their books tied up in neat little packages (even if those packages contain a severed head or are dripping blood), then "The Bus on Thursday" might not be the best book to pick up this Halloween season. But if you are even remotely interested, hop in, strap on your seatbelt and prepare for a bumpy ride.

  • Pauline

    I found it really difficult to get into this book. I did not find it humorous and the bad language put me off. I found the main character unlikeable.

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Little Brown Book UK for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

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