COLUMN: Bunnies, sexuality and the freedom to read

A book about a gay bunny has been the subject of challenges

This cover image released by Chronicle Books shows “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” written by Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller. (Chronicle Books via AP)

A book about a bunny — and not the Easter Bunny — has been making news headlines.

The book, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by E.G. Keller, was published a year ago, in March 2018.

This is a satire piece, written and presented as a children’s book.

It’s a response to Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, a children’s book written by Charlotte Pence, daughter of U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo tells the story of a bunny owned by the Pence family.

READ ALSO: John Oliver’s Mike Pence parody book among most ‘challenged’ works

READ ALSO: Book-banning discussed as Chilliwack trustee’s motion on parental consent fails

The bunny also happens to be gay — unlike Mike Pence, who is known for his opposition to expanding LGBTQ+ rights.

Proceeds from sales of the book are going to The Trevor Project and AIDS United, two organizations friendly to the LGBTQ+ community.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo wouldn’t normally attract my attention.

I don’t usually go for stories with bunnies as protagonists, regardless of who they are hopping around with.

And most of the time, I don’t find contemporary political satire to be all that funny, although there are exceptions.

Why am I interested in this book?

The answer is simple. There are some who do not want me to read it. It has been one of the most challenged books in the United States this year.

Since it was published, there have been efforts to have A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo removed from some American libraries.

Others have spoken out against the parody.

“The ‘satirical’ late-night talk show host’s screed was not just vicious in tone, but also vulgar and vile in every sense of the word and way,” Jim Daly, president of the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family, wrote after the book was released.

Like Pence, Focus on the Family is not seen as being friendly to the LGBTQ+ community.

Oddly enough, Charlotte Pence, author of the original Marlon Bundo book, wasn’t among those opposing the satirical work.

“His book is contributing to charities that I think we can all get behind… I’m all for it,” she said in an interview shortly after the parody was published.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo isn’t the first book to be challenged, and it won’t be the last.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: You can’t incarcerate a mind

Here in B.C., we have had some book challenges of our own.

In the 1990s the Surrey School Board tried to ban three children’s books: Belinda’s Bouquet, Asha’s Mums, and One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads. Each of these books dealt with same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court of Canada overturned the ban.

And much more recently, Chilliwack school trustee Heather Maahs has taken issue with the novel, Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden.

At issue is sexual content in the Grade 9 novel.

These outcries and efforts to keep certain books out of libraries end up increasing the public’s curiosity.

And so, because of the opposition to A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, I want to find out more.

Maybe it isn’t worth reading. Or perhaps it’s an important, worthwhile story.

If the critics didn’t want me to pay attention to this book, silence would have been far more effective than their efforts to have it pulled from the shelves.

Now it’s time to try and get my hands on a copy of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm opens respiratory clinic in response to COVID-19

Clinic will not be a walk-in centre, residents must call family doctor or nurse practioner first

Salmon Arm’s paving, pothole patching programs to begin in May

Long hard winter takes toll on roads, street cleaning underway

Last-minute hiring means Salmon Arm’s emergency shelter can remain open

Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter to stay open beyond normal closing date of April 1

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP donating raise to support food banks, women’s shelters

Mel Arnold said pay increase legislation didn’t account for a crisis like COVID-19

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

Penticton RCMP, Fire Department, BCEHS salute hospital workers

“You’re awesome” and “Thank you” say Penticton first responders, passing by emergency entrance

Coquihalla closed in both directions, Medivac to land

DriveBC says drivers should expect delays of up to one hour

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

LETTER: Flights from infected countries should be banned

There is no excuse to allow those from infected countries to keep coming to B.C.

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

Okanagan group fights isolation with online meetings

Monashee Toastmasters are keeping their distance but still getting together

B.C. man sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Green says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Wage subsidy program has been greatly expanded since it was first approved

Most Read