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 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.
Emily’s LOHF Review
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 think. 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.
The Bus on Thursday releases today!
About Shirley Barrett
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 AustralianPremier’s Prize 2010. ‘Rush Oh!’ is Shirley’s first novel. She lives in Sydney, Australia.