Sean Penn has many accolades to his name. He is an Oscar-winning actor, noted director, talented screenwriter, journalist, and staunch political activist. One would think with his many accomplishments he would just retire on his legacy. Apparently not. Citing a falling out with the world of filmmaking he has grabbed a novelist hat form his rack of talent, and is not trying it on with his first novel “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff”.
The novel is a slim one, but contains a lot of story. It is an eccentric mish mash of crazy that follows an absurd narrative style. It contains episodes from the life and times of Bob Honey intermixed with random poetry, and bits of ranting. Bob Honey, the titular character is an unhappy man. He is a septic tank salesman with a client list of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who moonlights as a government contracted assassin targeting the elderly. He is not a fan of advertising, hates social media, and dislikes the current president even more. Sound like someone we know? The book follows Bob’s tales as he recites them to investigative reporter Spurley Cultier.
Like any hero of a satire Honey lives in a crazy world full of crazy circumstances, that comes off as a dystopian version of present day USA. Through Bob’s disgruntlement we see the disgruntlement of real-life American society, which seems to be pissed off at everything. At least according to Penn’s perspective, and the book is written from Penn’s perspective. There is no doubt that the titular character is a version of Penn, as Bob’s surly character seems to radiate Penn’s own political leanings.
The end of novel is a letter penned by Honey to the president, Mr. Landlord. It contains every rotten thing he thinks about him and ends with an open challenge to a duel. All Mr. Landlord has to do is tweet him. Besides the references to Trump, the book largely focuses on trending events. It comments on everything from mass shootings, to immigration, to the #MeToo movement. All of it seen through the eyes of Bob Honey, and all of it spoken with the voice of Sean Penn.