Sean Penn has always been outspoken. His political activism is almost as famous as his acting. Penn has always seemed to march to his own tune, whether it be interviewing El Chapo to the chagrin of the Obama administration, or taking a none to popular stance against #MeToo. Now Penn has lent his voice to the literary world in a new novel, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff”, and in usual Penn fashion the book plays by its own rules.
Bob Honey is described as a satire, but in reality it is an eclectic smattering of crazy. The book has no formal plot and is told through the narration of Pappy Pariah. It recounts the exploits of Bob Honey, a septic tank salesmen turned government assassin. He executes old people for a secretive government organization that is attempting to better the environment through lowering the population. His ex-wife married her divorce lawyer and operates an ice-cream truck that services his neighborhood.
Honey is an unhappy man who cannot connect with others. He is frustrated with the marketing of current society, social media, and the media in general. He is a frustrated and angry man who hates the current state of his country. Obviously the character takes its cues from Penn, as the titular character is the vessel of his voice.
The book is built like a typical satire, a garden of crazy with roots of truth that readers dig for. Its dystopian setting is meant to represent the current times we live in, and Penn uses Honey to give us his personal view of such times. The narrative style is unique as its structured episodically, but is interjected with pointed rants and obscure poetry. Penn uses inventive writing, alliteration, and engaging prose to create a different kind of reading experience.
The book does not back down on the topics it covers, each covered in the usual satirical masking. It ranges from the Las Vegas shooting to #MeToo. Characters are based on real people such as Fletcher, who Penn designed after El Chapo, and Mr. Landlord, who is the literary counterpart of President Donald Trump. Penn’s angst is felt in his frustrated prose, elaborate comments, and colorful descriptions. Penn promises that this will not be his only book, and plans to write many more as he is thoroughly enjoying the writers’ life. For now he remains on his book tour.