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The Bus on Thursday

A Novel
Written by: Shirley Barrett
Narrated by: Katherine Littrell
Length: 5 hrs and 41 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett is a darkly humorous audiobook 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.

©2018 Shirley Barrett (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel - Audible
  • 2019-01-11

Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 2019-02-14

surprising, great listen

props to the narrator especially - she was excellent and extremely captivating. ending of the story leaves a bit to be desired but overall very good book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stacey
  • 2018-11-30

I want more books like this!!!

Wow!! What a wild ride!! I started this book at 8am in the morning and thank goodness i had the day off!! I listened to this from beginning to end!! The story is like a horrible accident you just can’t turn yourself away from and has that constant feeling of WTH is going to happen next??? Hint, it’s never what you’d dream up!! The narrator was AMAZING!!! She totally made this book. It felt like talking to your best girlfriend who was spilling some unbelievably juicy gossip.
Trust me, you’re not going to want to turn this off until you’ve finished every last crazy word down to the spiraling wild end!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Phoebe
  • 2018-11-10

Hilarious but dark

This story was very funny, but in a fairly dark way. The main character isn’t really likeable, but that is what makes her so human and relatable. Definitely not a story for everyone, but I enjoyed it! The narration was excellent. Perfect match for the character.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Heather M.
  • 2019-02-06

Disappointed

The author overuses the word "etcetera" which is probably not annoying reading the book, but listening to it made it painful to hear. It started out as a really interesting perspective on cancer. It also was a cool setting in remote Australia. It had a great storyline despite having an unlikable main character. But then it just ends in the worst possible way to end a book: no clear ending, which was disappointing after you spend 6 hours listening.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Leissa
  • 2018-11-06

Don't waste your time or money

This book was just terrible. Described as Bridget Jones meets the Exorcist. It is not.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Emily Ensor-Shaffer
  • 2018-11-05

Good to pass the time but not gripping

The protagonist is not very likeable. The story is kind of annoying. I suppose it was supposed to be humorous, it wasn't. It wasn't horrific either so it failed on 2 fronts. The horror elements were disjointed and unclear. They didn’t serve as metaphor and they aren’t cohesive.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful