“Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is a slim book, but despite its size it packs a mean punch. Actor extraordinaire Sean Penn holds nothing back in his premier novel, laying out his opinion of the Trump administration, #MeToo, the media, social media, and marketing for all the world to read. And it is quite the read, a frenetic storm of agitated prose wrapped around a small semblance of episodic story.
The book follows the life of Bob Honey, as told by quirky narrator Pappy Pariah. Honey was formally a septic tank salesmen for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but now holds a slew of small jobs. The most important one is some wetwork he does for a secret government agency. The agency has a plan to help the environment, and that plan involves assassin Honey taking a mallet to geriatrics. As we go between his incredible exploits as an assassin, to his attempt to socialize at home, a investigative reporter shows up and throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing.
Honey has all the tropes of a satire. The absurd circumstances, the absurd characters, the references to real people within those characters, and of course the author waxing rhapsodic every chance he gets. Whether it be through Pappy’s storytelling, or Honey’s point of view, Penn lets his opinions be known in fiery little rants.
President Trump takes some hits. Big surprise. Penn’s focus on him paralleled in Honey’s relationship to his president, known as Mr. Landlord. Penn also focuses on current events, the media, and #MeToo in a poem epilogue. According to Penn the overall message is about morality, a message he felt led to tell with the current state of America. The disenchanted feeling Penn has coming through in the disenchanted feeling of his character.
Penn takes some interesting stances in the book, especially with #MeToo. His position on Trump is obvious, and most readers have heard such ranting before. #MeToo though is accused of infantilizing serious subjects like rape and sexual assault, resorting to playground tactics, and accusing individuals without any recourse. He even asks is it necessary to demonize individuals thought to be quality of such crimes, Charlie Rose in particular.
Penn accuses the media of glorifying things like shooting police officers, and blames real life instances on such glorification. It is definitely the voice of someone who has been chewing on this thoughts for awhile. Luckily he has found an outlet to get them out.