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.

Just Posted

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to the Okanagan

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone Award Foundation charity weekend in Kelowna

Vehicle fire slows down traffic east of Osoyoos

A vehicle fire has slowed down traffic on Highway 3

Woman in hospital after being thrown off horse

She was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital from Okanagan Falls

Penticton Search and Rescue help injured climber

Search and rescue called on the assistance of a helicopter to help retrieve an injured hiker

Update: Washed out South Okanagan road temporarily closed for assessment

A portion of Eastside Road, south of Penticton, appears to be crumbling into Skaha Lake

VIDEO: It’s warming up across the Okanagan Valley

Grey skies are expected to fade and the sun looks like it’s here to stay

Okanagan art gallery releases their theme

Fine arts painting will be the point of focus for this year’s event

Okanagan nature centre fundraiser goes western

Allan Brook’s Nature Centre Wine and Wild West Fundraiser is on July 6

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

North Okanagan tattoo fundraiser draws record support

Lineup around the block for start and beginning of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Firefighters respond to bus fire on Highway 1

Smoke in coach bus reported to have been caused by overheating, driver and passengers safe

Caravan Farm Theatre holds outlaw themed fundraiser

Caravan Farm Theatre hosts its western outlaw themed fundraiser, Hands Up! June 1

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

Most Read