Everyone’s Talking About Sean Penn’s First Novel

Everyone's Talking About Sean Penn's First Novel

Most people know him as an Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker and one who isn’t afraid to be vocal about uncomfortable social and political issues.  Sean Penn is also a writer and recently debuted his first published novel with the curious title of “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.” 

Penn isn’t too worried about how his book is being received; he knows that some will enjoy its satirical edge and peculiarities, and others will blast him for something they just don’t get.  Already, a few critics have some advice for Sean Penn after reading the novel: 

“Don’t give up your day job,” as the old saying goes. 



Penn’s fictional character Bob Honey is a divorced man who seems to have issues in making human connections. He works as a septic tank seller whose clients include Jehovah’s Witnesses, and on the side, he is an assassin for the United State government.  The novel is heavy on alliteration and features a mix of poetry, a collection of stories and a stream of babbling. The book is 176 pages long. 

Penn has been making the book tour rounds and talking with the media about Bob Honey. The actor spoke with Vogue.com about how writing a book is far different from the world of Hollywood and its frequent movie collaborations.  Penning “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is all about the solo aspect. In other words, Sean Penn found it quite refreshing to make something that was completely his own. Writing a book was totally a personal affair, and he doesn’t make apologies for the novel in any sense of the word. 

When he’s creating movies, it’s mainly a team effort and one where responsibility for success or failure can be shared, he told Vogue.com. He has tired of the moviemaking industry where tons of money is at stake, creative disagreements arise with the huge weight upon one’s shoulders about how the film might turn out, etc.  In fact, Sean Penn might have a few more books to write for the foreseeable future, he claims. He’s not working on a movie at the moment and has no desire. 

The famous star did not say that his character Bob Honey is actually Sean Penn, but those who have read the novel can find some similarities between both men and how they look at the absurdities of life.   TheBroTalk.com pointed to the mention of various social issues in the book that are near and dear to Sean Penn’s heart. For example, in “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,” he mentions a fictitious hurricane. Penn was active in humanitarian efforts with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that caused severe damage along the Gulf Coast and claimed 1,800 lives. 

Other references in the novel point to dark days in the country. One he pays mention to is the horrific mass shooting by gunman Stephen Paddock in October of 2017. He talks about Russian hacking, and even President Donald Trump becomes a figure in the plot.  Sean Penn writes a poem about the #MeToo movement in the novel as well.  In a recent Marc Maron podcast show, he suggested to listeners to read Sean Penn’s novel but to do so slowly and a little at a time because it will confuse the reader.


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