This spring is the debut of Sean Penn’s book “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.” This satirical look at the United States and its current political landscape, follows the anti hero “Bob”. Bob is a baby boomer, who loathes his ex wife, remains anti social, for the most part, and is pessimistic about the state of American affairs. Bob works for a mysterious employer, and goes on mallet wielding sprees, in which he takes out older citizens, who his employers says stand in the way of globalism and progress. With no formal plot structure, this novel has been called a trippy read, that intentionally confuses the reader at times.
However, through the chaos, there seems to be a taste of symbolism and truth in the story. For example, the reader follows Bob as he witnesses the 2016 presidential election, he reacts to the killing of police officers in Dallas, and he also praises the views of Hugo Chavez. There also is a character that is eerily similar to El Chapo, reflecting Penn’s meeting with the notorious gangster. Even towards the end of the book, Bob writes an angry letter to the “landlord” of the United States, calling him a narcissist. This is a clear stab at the current president of the U.S., Trump.
At times, it becomes hard to distinguish between Bob, and Penn, and it seems that Bob has been made unquantifiable because he is supposed to resemble Penn. Both people are baby boomers, and have outspoken views on politics, Bob is just a satirical take. In a CBS Morning interview, Penn says that in this book, “some people are going to get this book, and some people are… not going to get this book.” This seems to have served its purpose, as Penn does a good job of reflecting his world view through a fictional dystopia. The New York Times even says that Penn’s “real interest here is capturing what America has become – and taking a mallet to it.” Penn seems to have succeeded.