Well known for his decades-long career in Hollywood as an actor, writer, producer, and director, these days Sean Penn is focusing on his writing. While Penn has previously authored opinion pieces, and worked as a war correspondent, his debut novel titled “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,” presents a narrative featuring the main character, Bob Honey, a septic-tank salesman who doubles as a contract killer for the US government. The New York Times calls the book “a riddle wrapped in an enigma cloaked in crazy.” “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is a thought-provoking novel, and includes such thick and heady vocabulary and prose that the reader may need a dictionary to understand the nuanced dystopian world that Penn describes.
“Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is rife with commentary on the current sociopolitical climate in the United States and the world, which consequently may lead readers to believe that the novel could double as an opinion piece, although Penn disagrees. In an interview with Vogue, Penn denies the idea of his work as opinion and states that anyone who sees “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” in that way “picked up the wrong book.” Despite this declaration, Penn references a plethora of current topics including the president, El Chapo, the #metoo movement, race and police tension, internet rights, mental health, the effects of the media, and recent events such as the Las Vegas concert shooting. Incontestably, Penn offers ample commentary on current events in society throughout the writing of “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.”
Furthermore, not only does Penn describe current world events, but he finds inspiration from his personal experiences and conviction in helping others. “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” describes the main character assisting in aid efforts after a hurricane, just as Penn did after a hurricane in Haiti in 2010, and after Hurricane Katrina. Penn has also worked as a war correspondent, while Bob Honey surveys the after effects of war in Iraq. Seemingly, Bob Honey has inherited certain aspects of his worldview directly from the life and times of his creator.
Penn’s debut novel is chock-full of events and ideas inspired by the present day, in addition to the author’s personal experiences and ideals. “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is satirical, garrulous, and thought provoking, and may require breaks to process this novel that illustrates the world as understood by Penn.