Not living in the States and therefore not getting their news, I knew absolutely nothing about Marlon Bundo. I didn’t even know that he existed. Naturally, I knew about Mike Pence and his toxic conservative, religious attitudes to the LGBTQUI, but that’s about it. I knew nothing about his family, let alone his pets. That he would use his pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, as a marketing tool comes as no surprise. Having a cute pet is probably the most likeable thing about the man. Cynically releasing a picture book about said rabbit was a stroke of marketing genius.
Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President was written by Mike Pence’s daughter, Charlotte Pence, and illustrated by his wife, Karen Pence. It’s a generic story about an average day of a genuinely dull man with a few religious moments thrown in for good measure (apparently Pence reads the Bible with Bundo). It is published by Regenery, a conservative publishing imprint of the Salem Media Group who target audiences interested in Christian and “family-themed content and conservative values,” a quote taken directly from their website. Mike Pence himself has public ties to conservative Christian groups, including those who support Gay conversion therapy, like Focus on the Family. It is this very association that led Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver to troll Mike Pence in the most brilliant way.
Instead of calling for boycott’s, or spreading negativity, John Oliver and the team at Last Week Tonight got together with Chronicle Books (one of my favourite children’s publishers!) to release A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, their own version of Pence’s story in which Marlon Bundo is wonderfully gay! The author is Jill Twiss, a comedian and writer for Last Week Tonight and illustrated by E. G. Keller, an artist from Pence’s home state of Indiana. Proceeds from the book go to The Trevor Project, who provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth, and AIDS United.
As soon as the segment aired I bought a copy. It was such a positive way to take a stand and support a worthy cause. Not only is A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo fast outselling its inspiration, but it has also flown to the top of the Amazon bestseller list. I missed out on the first print run (which sold out in less than a day!), but Amazon is still taking orders for a reprint. But, the best thing about the book? It’s a legitimate children’s story about love and acceptance, completely age appropriate, sweet, and beautifully illustrated. Not only does a purchase take a stand, but the resulting product is more than just satire, it’s a well written, artistic, and emotional book that you can genuinely share with your children. What’s not to love?
You can order A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo as a Hardback from Amazon, donate to The Trevor Project or Aids United to get a free eBook, or get the audiobook, narrated by Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jeff Garlin, Ellie Kemper, John Lithgow, Jack McBrayer and RuPaul from Audible.