Academy Award winning actor Sean Penn has made his debut as a fiction writer with Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. The satirical novel follows the life of Bob Honey, a political activist, who finds himself fed up and seeking to take action no matter the cost. Ripe with beautiful alliterations and a literary feel, Penn’s story comes alive with a large slice of political humor.
The media has covered many of Penn’s own politically motivated activisms, including a recent interview with notorious drug cartel leader El Chapo, and he has been largely outspoken against the Trump Administration’s policies too. Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff takes the route of activism and is of little surprise. With little in the way of subtly, the references to the current administration are clear but hilarious. Many anti-Trump references arise, such as in the name of the fictional president “Mr. Landlord.”
A deeper look into Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff reveals issues that affect us culturally and worldwide. Penn’s six pages on the #MeToo movement attracted critics in droves as he stated, “infantilizing,” and “reducing rape, slut-shaming, and suffrage to child’s play.” He offers us a unique perspective, both personally and through the fictional eyes of Bob Honey, on how modern platforms lead more to public shaming than empowering, or helping, anyone. This arises in the “We” mentality Bob believes in, but it contradicts the “Me/I” so rampant in his world. Penn shares Bob’s views: “If we don’t balance our lives between the I and the We, we don’t move forward–we move back,” he recently told Marc Maron of the WTF with Marc Maron Podcast.
Has 57-year-old Penn given up on the movie industry? Time will tell, but in his interview with Marc Maron, Penn divulged his personal feelings on the state of the movie industry and his loss of joy in acting and newfound love for the writing life. While he hasn’t stated for certain, when asked by Vogue about a sequel to Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, Penn said, “Let’s just say I have something cookin’.”