Sean Penn’s new novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff is not your typical celebrity novel. It is not an autobiography nor is it based on one of the characters Sean Penn has played over the years. Exactly what this novel intends to communicate can be hard to fathom for the reader.
The novel concerns a millennial named Bob Honey who takes on a variety of jobs to make a living. None of these jobs are the kind that most of us would want to undertake. They include selling portable toilets and being an assassin. Mr. Honey is quite disturbed that the United States is no longer the great country he expected from his childhood.
Mr. Penn has given up acting and turned to writing to make his living. This is his first book and he clearly takes aim at everything that is wrong with society. Bob Honey comments in depth on the current president although he never names President Trump. However, to quote from the text, “the violently immature seventy-year-old man with money and … cotton candy hair” seems to be clearly pointing to the president. He describes this character as permanently injured by the demonstrating women after his inauguration and then challenges him to a twitter dual.
Honey continues to comment on all aspects of the current political scene. He comments on Russia’s interference in the election, the increasing gun violence in the country, blames the media for increasing the hysteria about black lives and brings up false new quite a lot. He thinks the “Me Too” movement is reducing women’s issues to infantilism. He complains about the lack of proof and proper procedures before someone is fired. He wonders, “Did we really need to fire Charlie Rose?”
In the end, Bob is more than just a complainer. He goes to help out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He goes to help Puerto Rico recover from its storms. He even winds up in Bagdad at the beginning of the Iraq War and helps the refugees and survivors recover from the war. After all this, Bob heads to Miami to investigate his employee who hires him to tear down society as a hit man with a mallet. Bob is looking for why.
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