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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. T 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. The next thing she knew, her breast was being dissected and removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was suddenly deluged with cupcakes, judgy support groups, and her mum knitting sweaters. Luckily, Eleanor discovers Talbingo, a remote little town looking for a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker up and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It’s not just the communion-wine-guzzling friar prone to mad rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It’s living alone in a remote cabin, with no cell or Internet service, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door and who is knocking on it late at night.


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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. T 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. The next thing she knew, her breast was being dissected and removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was suddenly deluged with cupcakes, judgy support groups, and her mum knitting sweaters. Luckily, Eleanor discovers Talbingo, a remote little town looking for a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker up and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It’s not just the communion-wine-guzzling friar prone to mad rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It’s living alone in a remote cabin, with no cell or Internet service, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door and who is knocking on it late at night.

30 review for The Bus on Thursday

  1. 4 out of 5

    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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    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 imp 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 implant and has been "recovering", 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. I will not go into this element of the story further, because it's better for you to find out yourself. 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. The Bus on Thursday is being called "Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist" 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 The Bus on Thursday 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. The Bus on Thursday will be released on September 18, 2018.

  4. 4 out of 5

    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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    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 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 Eleanor Mellet, diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, is an excision of the layers of meaning we all create in our lives; and strongly reminiscent, at last for me, of the works of Shirley Jackson, and Emily Dickinson. Yes, there are plenty of layers to this book - if you want to take it as an hilarious romp "Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist" - fine, no problem, but I can also see that if you or someone you care for, has experienced cancer - you will understand that a brush with death can be insanely scary.

  6. 5 out of 5

    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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    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 Bridget Jones's Diary, 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 The Exorcist. The Bus on Thursday 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marchpane

    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 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 mountain town. She’s to replace the beloved, practically-perfect local teacher who has gone missing in strange circumstances. Things only get weirder from there. Is Eleanor losing it? Is the cancer returning? Is her new boyfriend the Antichrist? The story is told in first person in the form of unpublished blog entries (so basically, a diary) written by the increasingly unreliable and unhinged Eleanor. It’s a strong, distinctive voice which some readers might find irritating, but which I loved for its mordant humour. Barrett really skewers the judgment and self-blame that comes with serious illness too, from Eleanor’s friend implying that she got cancer because she ‘just always gets wound up over things’, to a creepy priest flat-out telling her she ‘invited the demon in’ and must be exorcised, to her possible-incubus boyfriend saying ‘nothing happens to a person that they do not deserve’. The Bus on Thursday is as much about one woman’s coping mechanisms as it is about demonic goings-on in a small kooky town. It is sharp, witty, dark, a bit twisted and a lot entertaining.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cody | codysbookshelf

    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 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 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. The Bus on Thursday is out on 9/18!

  11. 5 out of 5

    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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    “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 “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 laugh-out-loud funny. Poor Eleanor and the humilities that follow after breast cancer. In fact, it’s so honest that I needed to check again to make sure this is fiction as opposed to nonfiction. She goes to support groups where she doesn’t fit in, although she garners one great idea of journaling her feelings (blogging to the young people). From this point, the novel is a series of journal entries. To get herself out of her inertia, she accepts a teaching job in a remote village in Australia. This is where the novel takes a serious turn from reality fiction to farcical fiction. Eleanor is replacing a beloved teacher who mysteriously vanished. It is here that Eleanor becomes an unreliable narrator. The novel takes an almost madcap nightmarish turn. It’s a fast read. It’s clever and outlandish. I can’t say I’d recommend it, but I can say I felt it was worth my time in reading.

  13. 4 out of 5

    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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    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 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 for why she developed cancer, including anxiety, poor diet, anger or demons (the local priest even attempts an exorcism). As she starts up an affair with her orphaned student’s alluring older brother, peculiar things start to happen and Eleanor has to question her sanity. She writes up her experiences as chatty blog posts. You might think of this as a hybrid work of magic realism and horror, though ultimately I concluded that (view spoiler)[the entire thing is meant to be a set of dreams and/or hallucinations Eleanor has as breast cancer metastasizes into her brain (hide spoiler)] . I think you’d have to have a particular sense of humor to really love this one. A representative line: “on a scale of one to being carted off to the nuthouse in a straitjacket, let’s just say I am well and truly into the red section.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lukas (LukeLaneReads)

    Well, this certainly takes a turn for the weird towards the end.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    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 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 write a book, it's your job to tell us what happens, not leave us hanging. Again, I enjoyed the first part of the book quite a lot, but the weirdness of the second half and the ambiguous ending means only 2 stars from me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ashley (bookishmommy)

    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 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 but it is a page turner for sure. Oh and I also loved the blog style format. So fun.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    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 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 being diagnosed with breast cancer and shortly after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, she decides for a total sea change taking up a teaching job in the tiny town of Talbingo, little does she know what it has in store for her? Firstly she has her work cut out for her trying to win over her students who all adored their former teacher. One of the students, fourteen-year-old Ryan, and his older brother have highly disturbing relationships with Eleanor with the older brother having sex with her then treating her like garbage. Throw in a local priest who bizarrely believes she gave him cancer and wants to exorcise her, and she inevitably hits the bottle as proceedings go from strange to totally crazy. At times downright hilarious and at other times just straight out incongruous, I can honestly say I have never read anything like this before and most likely never will again. The questions I have are plenty with is what is happening all in Eleanor's head, is her lover a murderer, is the town completely bat-shit crazy or is this just a reflection of real life that is unpredictable? Who knows but I do know one thing and that this is a story that should be read and is totally nuts.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bert Zee

    The testimonial screaming at you from the front cover, “get ready to laugh as goosebumps rise” is so perfect. I don’t know if I’ve ever really read a book that combines horror and humour so well, it’s so damn clever. There were times I was laughing out loud and then others where I felt unsettled and uneasy because I knew something scary was about to happen, this is some exceptional writing right here, this is how you write a horror/comedy novel. Loved it. Didn’t want it to end. One of my favs of t The testimonial screaming at you from the front cover, “get ready to laugh as goosebumps rise” is so perfect. I don’t know if I’ve ever really read a book that combines horror and humour so well, it’s so damn clever. There were times I was laughing out loud and then others where I felt unsettled and uneasy because I knew something scary was about to happen, this is some exceptional writing right here, this is how you write a horror/comedy novel. Loved it. Didn’t want it to end. One of my favs of the year. It’s like a creepy episode of The Twilight Zone mixed with the Karen Black segment of Trilogy of Terror. 4.5 stars!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    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 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 characters were unappealing, and the supposed humour was often misplaced or even tasteless. Thank goodness the print was larger than usual, which made it possible to read this quickly, wasting only a couple hours of my time. :(

  21. 5 out of 5

    jenni

    this is a horror novel - the horror being cancer. there was an atmosphere to this book that feels difficult and almost comical to describe, like every time i opened it there was a buzzing in my ears. this book is clearly about the nightmare of cancer. so many things dinning: our protagonist relocates after a stunning cancer diagnosis. the author, shirley barrett, was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly following her book's publication. my maternal grandmother, shirley abbott, passed away in her this is a horror novel - the horror being cancer. there was an atmosphere to this book that feels difficult and almost comical to describe, like every time i opened it there was a buzzing in my ears. this book is clearly about the nightmare of cancer. so many things dinning: our protagonist relocates after a stunning cancer diagnosis. the author, shirley barrett, was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly following her book's publication. my maternal grandmother, shirley abbott, passed away in her mid-40s from breast cancer. every time i took to reading this book, I felt this ominous overlay of subtle terror, like something was about to go wrong at any moment; shortly after finishing the book, we learned that my other grandmother had just been diagnosed with yet another cancer, her third diagnosis- one of them breast cancer. oh, but the cacophony of eleanor's mental and physical meltdowns..! she is hysterical - both in mood and voice. she is uncouth, foul-mouthed, boorish in front of children, borderline reckless, and semi-hallucinatory. she is dangerously, horrifically funny. she is heartbroken and reaping madness. eleanor has an effortless, self-depricating charm in her narration of cancerous absurdity: cancer, so mutable and devastating, so unamenable and surreal. the last few pages of the story turned me into fucking mist, deteriorated completely by the exquisitely tragicomic decadence of its spectacularly crafted ending. this book is a compulsive, mixed-genre gift of delight and dismay.

  22. 5 out of 5

    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 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 her armpit. So begins her cancer journey. Now, if you are expecting some inspirational story, some uplifting acts by a brave soul, or a story of a supporting community who helps her through her struggle - ummm, no. Oh, I know, self discovery of what is really important in life and a big thank you to the big C because she would never have grown and learned these important life lessons without it. Well, you can forget that. Eleanor is blunt, honest, witty and doesn’t sugar coat things. She gives it to you straight. She’ll tell you what she is feeling about having cancer, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. But she is also hilarious. I found it refreshing and endearing. She tell you her mother is bugging the crap out of her. Her best friend is getting married and tells her “Never mind your cancer, are you still gonna be my f-ing bridesmaid?”. Eleanor has to quit her job because you can’t teach while going through chemo. The rub is, Eleanor recently broke up with her long time boyfriend, Josh, because she wanted children and he didn’t. So getting cancer is sort of a kick in the pants. I don’t know if I would have laughed with such abandon if I wasn’t a cancer survivor, but laugh I did. Eleanor has wit and her honesty is refreshing. So, when she sees a teaching job available in this remote town with only only one class of eleven students, Eleanor decides a change of scenery is exactly what she needs. Cue creepy music. The previous teacher has disappeared, mysteriously, and the whole town has this bizarre idol worship for Miss Baxter. Something is not right. The students are weird and they have this intense adoration and love for their old teacher. All facts point to Miss Baxter as teacher of the year, however, there are some strange habits that come to light. The townspeople are even stranger. Upon meeting the preacher, he tries to perform an exorcism on Eleanor, convinced that her cancer was a demon and that it is still inside her. Eleanor is clearly struggling, often drunk, showing up for class hungover and unprepared, swearing at kids when she loses her temper. Oh yeah - having sex with her student’s brother, who happens to be his guardian, and who was also sleeping with Miss Baxter, illustrates her impaired judgement. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in questionable choices that Eleanor makes. The townsfolk give a very “Twin Peaks” vibe. Each character can either be creepy or quirky and you are never sure which. The fun is reading through all of the craziness that goes on once Eleanor moves to this town. I often felt off-balance because sometime you aren’t sure if something is really happening or if it is in Eleanor’s imagination. Also, sometimes, the stuff that happens is just unbelievable, in the way of, I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened, shocked kind of way. Some readers found Elenor an unlikeable character. I can understand that because she does some indefensible things when she get to town. But, I understood it from the viewpoint that, after going through cancer treatment, you can feel lost, not like yourself. All the things that made you you, are gone. As you reach out to regain those things, you might do some pretty crazy things. This was a delightful and unexpected. If you like offbeat or just want something new and different, I am really recommending this read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Orláith

    Written in the form of blog posts, The Bus on Thursday is, forgive the pun, quite a ride. It's one of those books that makes you constantly doubt yourself as you read it and it's the first book about cancer that I can honestly say I found to be hilarious. Despite thoroughly enjoying the book, I'm sitting here trying to write this and wondering what I actually just read. Was this a book set in a haunted town? Was Eleanor dead the whole time? Was she hallucinating? Was it all a dream while under anesthe Written in the form of blog posts, The Bus on Thursday is, forgive the pun, quite a ride. It's one of those books that makes you constantly doubt yourself as you read it and it's the first book about cancer that I can honestly say I found to be hilarious. Despite thoroughly enjoying the book, I'm sitting here trying to write this and wondering what I actually just read. Was this a book set in a haunted town? Was Eleanor dead the whole time? Was she hallucinating? Was it all a dream while under anesthetic? I guess I'll never know! Thank you so much to @fleetreads for this free ARC.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Smalter Hall

    This is campy, quirky horror, which isn't my typical jam, but I thought it was really well done. The author is an Australian screenwriter, and I've noticed that I often like novels by screenwriters (Exhibit A: Where'd You Go, Bernadette). The pacing is great, it's not overwritten, and it's genuinely hilarious. Eleanor is already coming unhinged when she finds out she has breast cancer in her early 30s. After treatment, she ends up in a remote village where things take a turn for the slightly sup This is campy, quirky horror, which isn't my typical jam, but I thought it was really well done. The author is an Australian screenwriter, and I've noticed that I often like novels by screenwriters (Exhibit A: Where'd You Go, Bernadette). The pacing is great, it's not overwritten, and it's genuinely hilarious. Eleanor is already coming unhinged when she finds out she has breast cancer in her early 30s. After treatment, she ends up in a remote village where things take a turn for the slightly supernatural. As her life continues to unravel, you get the sense that you're reading a dark and strange commentary on the absurdity of cancer. I love that this story doesn't fit into a tidy box -- Eleanor is the textbook definition of unlikable, and the ending is ambiguous af. Not your typical tug-at-the-heartstrings cancer book. I'm not sure if this book will find a wide audience because it's so damn weird, but it definitely found a fan in me!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Bowyer

    I suspect this will appeal to readers who enjoy humour such as the Netflix series The Santa Clarita Diet. Unfortunately, it didn't click with me. For me, Eleanor, the central character, became more unlikable as the narrative progressed. The humorous style of narrative also meant that the parts that I think were supposed to be horror / scary just felt a little cringe-worthy to me. It was a very easy to read book - written in an almost stream-of-consciousness first person narrative, it feels like h I suspect this will appeal to readers who enjoy humour such as the Netflix series The Santa Clarita Diet. Unfortunately, it didn't click with me. For me, Eleanor, the central character, became more unlikable as the narrative progressed. The humorous style of narrative also meant that the parts that I think were supposed to be horror / scary just felt a little cringe-worthy to me. It was a very easy to read book - written in an almost stream-of-consciousness first person narrative, it feels like having a friend on the phone who just won't stop talking. Judging by others' responses to it, I think this novel will have a bit of a cult following! Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the ARC.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Was really enjoying the diary style humour until nearing the end when it got a bit confusing leaving me wondering what parts were real and what was fantasy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    3.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I found it made me uncomfortable at times with its black humor and its weird storyline. Certain scenes evoked laughter or repulsion, sometimes both at the same time. Eleanor has broken up with her boyfriend, Josh, after he informed her that he doesn’t want children. Eleanor discovers she has an aggressive type of breast cancer and the outcome is a mastectomy. She is shattered, especially as her friends are far from supportive, she is devastate 3.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I found it made me uncomfortable at times with its black humor and its weird storyline. Certain scenes evoked laughter or repulsion, sometimes both at the same time. Eleanor has broken up with her boyfriend, Josh, after he informed her that he doesn’t want children. Eleanor discovers she has an aggressive type of breast cancer and the outcome is a mastectomy. She is shattered, especially as her friends are far from supportive, she is devastated by her body image. Her emotions are at an all time low when a friend sets her up on a date with Harry the Hairlip. He seems like a pleasant man until he sees her post operative body and is repulsed. A support group for women with breast cancer turns out to be a disaster for Eleanor after she tells them that she tried to return some worn underwired bras for a refund, claiming they caused breast cancer and caused a scene as the store refused to accept used underwear. She no longer has her teaching position. Eleanor is rude, sarcastic, snarky and has withdrawn from former friends and her mother. We don’t know if her personality was this way before the mastectomy, or if she has undergone a change for the worse due to emotional turmoil and strong medication. She has a tendency to use vulgar language and make inappropriate comments. She feels she needs a new start in life. An offer to start teaching school in a small town, population 241, in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, Australia is exactly what she needs to get her life back on track. The former teacher disappeared during the night, and Eleanor is anxious to start immediately. She has eleven students who are concerned about what happened to their former teacher, Miss Baker. They keep reminding Eleanor how perfect and caring her predecessor was, and that her teaching methods were superior. It seems that Miss Baker was loved and highly respected in the community. Eleanor makes a valiant effort but feels she can never measure up to such perfection. There is an older boy in the classroom who tends to be surly and a troublemaker. Eleanor learns that his parents died in a car crash and he lives with an older brother who is seldom at home. She is indulging in too much wine and having wild dreams, blackouts and hallucinations. She meets her older student’s brother/guardian who is unbelievably handsome, and indulges in wild sexual escapades with him, not that she can remember everything. She learns from both her pupil and this man that the perfect Miss Baker had a secret life, unlike the way she had been portrayed. What happened to her? A visit to the church led her to discussing her cancer with the Friar. He tells her that she let demons into her body which caused her illness. She finds this very creepy but reluctantly allows him to perform an exorcism. Later he visits her and blames her and her demons from causing him to develop cancer. At a funeral Eleanor has a frightening hallucination and causes a scene. There is a foreboding of danger, and she feels she must get out of this isolated and disturbing town quickly. A quirky book filled with some unpleasant scenes and dark humor,

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Umm..... I really genuinely have no idea how I feel about this book. The words peculiar and strange don't quite cover it and having literally just finished it I think it's gonna take me a bit of time to figure out what the hell just happened. I have to admit I have a real love for books that are weird and different and it was that single line in the blurb "Bridget Jones meets the Exorcist" that told me this was a book I needed to read despite never having heard of either the book or the author bef Umm..... I really genuinely have no idea how I feel about this book. The words peculiar and strange don't quite cover it and having literally just finished it I think it's gonna take me a bit of time to figure out what the hell just happened. I have to admit I have a real love for books that are weird and different and it was that single line in the blurb "Bridget Jones meets the Exorcist" that told me this was a book I needed to read despite never having heard of either the book or the author before. The story follows teacher Eleanor who shortly after a bad breakup discovers she has breast cancer. She gets treatment and other than a bit of emotional instability is on the road to recovery. Desperate to get away from her unsympathetic friends who are inconsiderately getting married and moving on with their lives she accepts the only job she can find in a school with only eleven pupils in a small town in the middle of nowhere. It seems like the perfect opportunity to get away from the stresses of everyday life and recover but there are some very odd characters in this town and some increasingly weird goings on. There's also the mystery of what happened to her predecessor who suddenly vanished in the middle of the night. The whole thing is told in a series of blog posts by Eleanor which probably explains the comparisons to Bridget Jones but Eleeanor is no Miss Jones. From the very first page she comes across as incredibly angry and a little unbalanced which is understandable given the cancer. She swears a lot, gets angry at everyone, behaves inappropriately and when she starts her new job is possibly the worst person you can imagine teaching young children. It's hilarious and also a little alarming. Basically I loved her. The blog posts recount daily events but blend in a mixture of random thoughts, dreams and fantasies that often make it difficult to tell what's real. There are gaps, flashbacks and odd statements all muddled together that leave you completely confused as to what the heck is going on and who Eleanor really is. There are many, many eccentric and peculiar characters in this town from the minister of the church who believes she has been possessed by a demon and that's what caused her cancer, to the supposed 12 year old pupil Ryan who spends all his time staring at her chest. I can certainly see where the comparisons to twin peaks come from. The story had me completely engaged from start to finish and I literally couldn't put it down. It's funny and occasionally creepy but mostly just bizarre and don't get me started on that ending. If I had one complaint it's that I would have liked a bit more horror to it. Yep there are bits that make you think of the Shining (and even a few references to that film) but there other than a few brief moment (mostly involving the bus in the title) there are no real chills or scares. Overall though a great read and one I'd recommend to anyone who loves the bizarre. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. As always all thoughts are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jodie- Readthewriteact

    This book was sent to me by the publisher for my honest review. I don't understand. Honestly I have no idea what has happened in this book. I need someone to give me a detailed explanation (possibly with a diagram). Maybe she was possessed? Maybe she was just unstable? Maybe she was dead? Maybe I have no idea. Scrap that I have no idea. Dont get me wrong this book is really interesting. The writing in a blog style is quirky and sharp. There were times when I actually LOL'd and others which left This book was sent to me by the publisher for my honest review. I don't understand. Honestly I have no idea what has happened in this book. I need someone to give me a detailed explanation (possibly with a diagram). Maybe she was possessed? Maybe she was just unstable? Maybe she was dead? Maybe I have no idea. Scrap that I have no idea. Dont get me wrong this book is really interesting. The writing in a blog style is quirky and sharp. There were times when I actually LOL'd and others which left me extremely uneasy. It is clear that Eleanors psyche deteriorates quite dramatically from the start to the finish of the book, but the ending has left me with questions. Lots of questions. If you can answer them, please do. Please. I think that it is described perfectly in the synopsis as a mash between Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist. It's good, I am just confused.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    Um, ok, so that happened. Did it, though? I'm not 100% sure what I just read, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride! 4.25 stars.

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