Actor turned novelist Sean Penn has published his debut novel, entitled “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.” Reviews have been mixed thus far, with the bad slightly outnumbering the positive takes. One critic trashed the book, calling Penn’s writing style “frustrating,” and the book on the whole a “mixed bag of nuts that are hard to crack.” Another urged the actor to “never quit his day job.” Some even have a hard time getting past the books title, which is grammatically incorrect.
The book’s main character is a pessimistic curmudgeon named Bob Honey who moonlights as an assassin for a CIA-like organization. His weapon of choice is a wooden mallet. His favorite victims are elderly senior citizens who fart too much. Many critics have described the book as a twisted dark satire.
Sean Penn sat down with Rolling Stone magazine for an interview to discuss a few controversies surrounding the book’s publication, in particular the late edition of an epilogue which took the #MeToo movement to task for its witch-hunt vibes. Social media accused Penn of calling for the assassination of President Donald Trump. Penn deflected criticism by restating that the character Bob Honey works professionally as a CIA assassin.
“I think we’re in a sad state where fiction is attributed to opinion…where fiction can’t be just read as it is.” Said Penn.
Entertainment Weekly was impressed enough with “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,” to label it as a “cult classic” for fans of offbeat counter-culture fiction. The author is compared to other writers with wide cult followings, such as Thomas Pynchon and Hunter S. Thompson. That’s pretty good company for any debut novelist.
As far as the mechanics of writing go, much has been made of Sean Penn’s liberal use of alliteration throughout the text. Readers have noted that every page is unsparing in sentences such as, “Scottsdale’s dry climate contradicts the clammy calescent of New Guinean condensation.”
Entertainment Weekly suggests that at times it is difficult to distinguish the politics of “Bob Honey” from those of Sean Penn, a progressive activist. The book, described as a “ragey manifesto,” seems to document every negative emotion that Penn seems to have had about President Trump since taking office, including this: “Sir, I challenge you to a duel. Tweet me, bitch. I dare you.”