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A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo - Book Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published May 12th 2018
Exploring themes of democracy and same sex marriage
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
Twiss & Keller

John Oliver is an English comedian who hosts the late night comedy satire show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Last Week Tonight airs on a weekly basis and examines political issues and current events and the news of the past week through a satirical lens. Oliver frequently criticises politicians and corporations, both in America and internationally, and uses humour to skilfully make his argument.

On March 18 Oliver aired an episode about the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, which focused on his conservative Christian values, his homophobic attitudes and his stance against same-sex marriage. Oliver was pretty open that he disliked the Vice President and thought his support for things like gay conversion therapy was pretty awful, but there is one thing that he likes about him and that is his real-life pet rabbit Marlon Bundo.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
Twiss & Keller

Marlon Bundo is a black and white rabbit that lives with the Vice President and has the nickname "BOTUS" which stands for Bunny of the United States. Oliver heard about Marlon when it was announced that he was going to be starring in a children's book written by Pence's daughter Charlotte Pence called Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President.

The Pence's book explains to children how the Vice President does his job. The book was published by conservative publishing house Regnery Publishing. Proceeds of the book were donated to Tracy's Kids (an art therapy program run by Karen Pence, Mike Pence's wife) and to A21 which is a non-profit group that fights human trafficking.

Oliver took offence when he heard that the Pence's would be going on a book tour with the real-life Marlon Bundo to promote the book and that one of the stops would be at Focus of the Family. Focus on the Family is an anti-LBGTI group that opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, divorce, LBGTI rights, pornography, LBGTI adoption, gambling and substance abuse.

In an act of excellent trolling, a day before the Pence's were due to release their Bundo book, Oliver announced that they had published A Better Bundo Book.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a 2018 children's book that parodies the Pence's Marlon Bundo book. It was written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller. The book stars Marlon Bundo but Oliver's Bundo has a big, handsome bow tie, to differentiate it from the Pence's Bundo.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
Twiss & Keller

Oliver's book is not a direct parody of the Pence's book. It shares a lot in common with the bunny in Pence's book. He is also called BOTUS and lives with the Vice President and the book shares a day in his life with the reader.

But in Oliver's book, Marlon Bundo is gay and his very special day is the day when he meets and falls in love with another boy bunny. 100% of all the proceeds from A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo was donated to the Trevor Project and AIDS United. Both charities support LBGTI rights.

Oliver's book was written to annoy Mike Pence and he is pretty open about that. The book takes a lot of little jabs at the Vice President. He is called "very boring" and "not very funny" and there is a stink bug that has his hairdo and has a lot of homophobic views about same-sex marriage and isn't very nice.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo was a huge commercial success. Interest in the book exploded after John Oliver announced the book on his show. A day after it was released, it rose to become the No. 1 book on Amazon and topped the e-book charts as well. It ended up outselling the Pence's book by a large margin. Two days after its release the book sold out after selling 180,000 copies. As of March 28, the book has sold over 400,000 copies. The audiobook version features the voices of Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jeff Garlin, Ellie Kemper, John Lithgow, Jack McBrayer and RuPaul.

The book received overwhelming praise from critics and the public. In an act of good sportsmanship, Charlotte Pence publically supported Oliver and his book by tweeting a picture of herself with the real Marlon Bundo wearing a bow tie just like the one in John Oliver's book. She commented saying that she could get behind the book because it was supporting charities that she thought everyone could get behind.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo explores the topic of same-sex marriage, LBGTI rights and democracy and has an important lesson to kids about why it is important to get out there and vote. The book was not overly preachy or too left-wing and its jabs at Mike Pence were pretty mild and harmless. The illustrations were gorgeous and were the strongest thing about the book. The story had some mild flaws and felt a little rushed in some parts, but I still recommend it.

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Why? A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a sweet story that celebrates individuality and teaches children that it is ok to be different. 100% of all the proceeds will be donated to the Trevor Project and AIDS United.
When: You could read it to your child and start a discussion with them about what makes them different and why it is ok to be different.
Where: Available from your local bookstore or online retailer
Cost: $ 20 - $30
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