Book review: The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett


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.


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 charming all the same!⁠

I tend to find it difficult to connect with comedy in books but I found this one hilarious. If it wasn’t for the fact that Eleanor is such a bold character, I would found have the situations she finds herself in to feel exaggerated and unrealistic, but knowing her character as you do, it all makes perfect, hilarious sense.⁠

You’re not going to like this one if you’re not into Speculative Fiction because while it’s grounded in some kind of reality, it’s far from normal and it’s definitely vague. This is the sort of book that leaves you to answer all your own questions.⁠

Despite the 5 star rating, I would have loved more of the horror aspect in this, as it’s very light, with only a few scenes in which I actually felt creeped out. Nevertheless, this was f*cking brilliant and I hope Barrett brings out more books like this because they’re exactly the kind of thing I love.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Details:

Pages: 304
Edition Published:
2018, MCD x FSG Originals
Genre: Horror, Fiction
Goodreads Av. Rating: 3.22

3 Replies to “Book review: The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett”

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