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The Bus on Thursday

3.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,989 ratings  ·  533 reviews
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 her.

It 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.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by MCD X Fsg Originals
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Average rating 3.20  · 
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 ·  1,989 ratings  ·  533 reviews

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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 ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have never read a humor-horror novel that has entertained me as much as The Bus on Thursday ! 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 i ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
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.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
The Bus on Thursday is a book that takes the cake for the most obscure and confusing book I have read. For this reason it really did get under my skin, baffling me beyond words and thinking. I’m sure it’s strange and hypnotic effect will ensure that I won’t forget my experience of reading this unusual book in a hurry. Described in the promotional material I received with this review book from the publisher, Allen & Unwin, as ‘Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist
Laura Anne
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves -
And Immortality -

I enjoyed this immensely. I suppose a take on The Divine Comedy - in other words Life is a huge fuck-up, and then you die.

There are also strong overtones of Shirley Jackson - and Ms Barrett like her namesake is keen to expose all those hopes, beliefs, ideas, and illusions we have about Life. Doctors, friends, lovers, family can not go with you when the bus arrives. The story of Eleano
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yes yes yes! This book completely surprised me and took me on a crazy unexpected ride, I almost didn’t read it on account of it having some horror elements but really it was light on the horror and heavy on the funny, I literally laughed out loud on multiple occasions even the horror parts were funny taking the edge off the scarier parts. Eleanor absolutely cracked me up. Delicious dark comedy with the right amount of eerie and small town weirdness. I found this book incredibly hard to put down ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can't think of a book I disliked more! Reviewed as funny, poignant, a 'horror-humour' romp, this novel fell flat for me, neither funny nor frightening - just absurd. In fact, some of it actually made me quite angry, particularly the teacher without any moral compass or professionalism. Even though I understood her behaviour was altered by her brushes with the "demons", I wasn't able to sympathise or empathise, except for the "horror" of her cancer.
The writing was simplistic, the warped charac
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
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. Th ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
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)
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian
Sharp, sardonic, black comedy with a horror kick

Maybe it is because the main character’s name is Eleanor, but she reminded me a lot of Kristen Bell’s character from The Good Place – funny, rude, inappropriate, bitter – but The Bus on Thursday’s Eleanor is justified in her causticness. Her life has just been turned upside down by breast cancer.

After losing her boyfriend, job, home, and a breast, to her illness, Eleanor attempts to turn things around by accepting a teaching job in a tiny scenic mo
Ashley Daviau
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book just knocked me right off my feet and into yesterday it hit me so hard! I was instantly engrossed and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to immergé myself into this fabulously dark and funny and gripping story. It starts off strong, the middle stays strong and the end is just PERFECTION. The format of blog posts is just perfect for this story, you feel like you’re descending into madness with the main character and it’s delicious. It is such weird and dark and haunting story and I j ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Eleanor moves to a very small town to teach, after completing breast cancer treatments. I really liked the first part of this book, but then the last third or so was just weird. I guess I didn't realize it was supposed to be a sort of horror story. It's one that ends in a way that you are never sure what really happened. Is Eleanor crazy? Is everyone else evil? Did anything really happen? Maybe Eleanor is actually dead? Etc. I don't like books that end on a question mark. It's cheating. If you w ...more
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am going to go out and say it. I have no idea what this book is about that I just read. Is it a rom-com, a crazy country town romp, a missing teacher mystery, a women's journey through madness, over the top religious overtures, wrestling Kangaroos, or maybe something I just can't think of at the moment? This bewildering read is part comedy, part romance, with chilling moments and for some reason, despite bordering on complete farce I could not stop reading.

When Eleanor's life falls apart after
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett. (2018).

Eleanor suffered a bad break-up just before she got cancer and the demons that came with it. Eleanor gets a new job as a teenager in a remote mountain hamlet where it all seems peaceful. But where had the previous teacher disappeared to? Why is there so many locks on the door? And why is there a random bus idling out the front late at night?

This book is weird, plain and simple. I didn't mi
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
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
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to FSG Originals for providing the Night Worms free copies of this book, in exchange for honest reviews. This is mine.

The Bus on Thursday 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
lark benobi
Combine a bright-and-peppy narrative voice, something like Sandra Bullock in "Miss Congeniality," with a stark horrific existential life-threatening and mysterious force, something like what Sandra Bullock experiences in "Bird Box," and there you have it.

Or maybe the stark horrific existential life-threatening and mysterious force here is cancer, because, until the book becomes populated by demons about half-way through, the first scenes are all about cancer and its indignities, and the book re
Susan Hampson
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: author-reads
This is one screwed up book that refuses to be stored in my mind as it keeps bobbing back into my thoughts and swirling around with the strange characters from the madcap town of Talbingo.
Eleanor Mellett was a big city girl through and through including being part of the rat race that came with it until her mapped out life began to crumble. Elementary school teacher Eleanor and her long-time boyfriend broke up only three months before she discovered a lump under her armpit. What she thought woul
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
“The Bus On Thursday” by Shirley Barrett is a wacky novel about a thirty-year-old woman and her life after a cancer diagnosis. The story begins with narrator Eleanor Mellett informing the reader of her recent breakup from Josh to her finding an itch on her armpit that turns out to be an aggressive cancer. The reader feels Eleanor’s indignity as the healthcare profession goes from a fine-needle biopsy (sounds easy and turns out to be harrowing) to a full mastectomy.

The beginning of the novel is
Zuky the BookBum
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, it's tricky even putting into words why I loved this book so much because it's one of those novels that once you've finished reading you just think 'huh?', but for whatever reason, I found it completely brilliant.⁠

I admit, I have a thing for narcissistic narrators in books and this just fed my love for them even more. We follow the blogging journals of Eleanor Mellett in this book and she's sarcastic, ridiculous, melodramatic, and quite honestly, a bit of a bitch, but I found her totally c
I’m certain I’m not the only one who, when they finished this book they sat there and wondered what that was all about. Although I enjoyed this book that was once I worked out what was going on, it really was a little hard to follow in parts, but I considered that perhaps it was just me.

The Bus on Thursday is a story that will capture your attention and part of the way through you’ll wonder what is going on, but you’re intrigued enough to want to finish it. Some people will like this book and s
Maura Heaphy Dutton
Nov 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I pressed on with this, in spite of deep doubts, because I thought the situation was intriguing enough to compensate. I was wrong. This is terrible -- the narrator is terrible, the writing style is terrible. I am not going to waste another moment on this.
Jaclyn Crupi
Intensely weird and disorienting and with a strong voice (I love a strong voice) but sadly the weird becomes the central focus at the expense of plot. I commend Barrett though because nobody is writing Australian fiction like this.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I saw two BookTubers recommend this book. The first one described it as a cross between Bridget Jones's Diary, Twin Peaks, and The Shining. The second called it the Australian Fargo. I was captured because neither person could really describe it. Was it horror? Dark humor? I had to find out.

I don't think either of these descriptions accurately or completely captured the tone of the book. The main character, Eleanor, was unlikeable. She faced several crossroads throughout the book and she always
Bonkers and crude in some of the same ways as Melissa Broder’s The Pisces. Eleanor has completed her treatment for breast cancer and, eager to rebuild her physical and mental health, takes on a last-minute teaching role in a remote Australian township where there’s barely phone signal or Internet access. She’s considered a poor substitute for the much-loved Miss Barker, who recently disappeared without warning. Everyone Eleanor meets in Talbingo seems to give a different, definitive explanation ...more
Lukas Anthony
Well, this certainly takes a turn for the weird towards the end.
Ashley (bookishmommy)
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you FSG Originals for providing free copies to the Night Worms in exchange for honest reviews.

While I dont think I'd classify The Bus on Thursday as horror/thriller I am so glad this book found its way to me. It was HILARIOUS in a dark way. I actually laughed out loud multiple times and that's rare for me. Beneath the humor though I found this book to pull at my heartstrings. Eleanor was likeable albeit over the top and dramatic but that's what I like!! The ending left me a bit confused b
Patty Smith
Thank you to Netgalley, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Shirley Barrett for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and 100% independent of receiving an advanced copy.

Wow! What did I just read?? I had no idea that I would love this genre as much as I did. I had no idea there was this genre. It’s a combination of horror, dark comedy and humour. It was irreverent, imaginative, off-kilter and creepy. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

The story begins as Eleanor finds a lump under h
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That ending!!!! 3 12 Nov 22, 2020 11:29AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "The Bus on Thursday" by Shirley Barrett 2 12 Sep 21, 2019 01:26AM  

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Shirley Barrett is best known for her work as a screenwriter and director. Shirley's first film, Love Serenade won the Camera D'Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes Film Festival in 1996. The script for her film South Solitary won the Queensland Premier's Prize (script) 2010, the West Australian Premier's Literary Prize (script) 2010, and the West Australian Premier's Prize 2010. Rush Oh! is Shirley' ...more

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