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Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff: A Satirical Reflection on American Culture

Sean Penn’s debut novel, ‘Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,’ is a social commentary that uses surreal details to satirically expose the former actor’s outrage at the social state of American society. By making subtle and direct reference to happenings in the country, the author reflects and takes a swipe at American culture. During an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Penn pointed out that the idiosyncrasies in the novel are not by others and are solely based on his imagination. This is despite the parallels that have been drawn between his book and the literary works of other authors such as Thomas Pynchon.


Originally released in 2016 as an audiobook, ‘Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff’ was later released as a novel. Sean Penn acknowledges that the initial decision to release it as an audiobook which he narrated under pseudonym stemmed from his inexperience with the intricacies of publishing. With no previous experience of writing a novel beyond a page or two, Sean Penn’s rather controversial style and taking of chances emanated from his firm conviction that comes with aging.


From the first time snippets of his upcoming novel reached the mainstream American public, there was undeniable evidence that it was bound to cause controversy. Though intended to be a fictional work, the surreal details that sometimes mirror the author’s controversial life strip the novel its controversial edge. In the end, the book represents the author’s musings and outrage at the issues that afflict the American society. Sean Penn does not shy away from controversy with the most high profile controversy he was involved in being his interviewing of Mexican drug lord, El Chapo.


Using the main character, Bob, Penn brings to life the complexity of American society. Bob, the titular character of the novel is a complex character: a man sold to doing odd and conflict jobs including assassinations, helping dictators and rescuing prisoners. Through Fletcher, caricatures the drug lord’s while The Landlord is readily interpreted as President Donald Trump. ‘Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff’ presents Sean Penn a unique platform to criticize the president labeling him an illegitimate and narcissistic leader sold to reflexive actions and even chide the #MeToo campaign terming its agenda and approach as childish.