Sean Penn is no stranger to controversy, and he’s made a conscious decision with his debut novel, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,” to remain controversial.
As soon as snippets of the book released online, people were either delighted or appalled. It’s a novel that takes chances, exploring themes about our complicated society, and the way Americans prefer to keep things simple, usually without success. The thing Penn is bemused by, is how people assume that his fiction is in actuality, fact.
“I think, we’re in a sad state where fiction is attributed to opinion…where fiction can’t be just read as it is.” Penn said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
“Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is about a middle-aged serial killer who’s a jack of all trades. He’s done it all, including selling septic tanks to Jehovah’s Witnesses, to assassinating the elderly for pay. It’s a bizarre book about the warped time we live in, and if taken in that context, people will find it thought provoking and entertaining. His writing style is being compared to the great Terry Southern and to Thomas Pynchon. Neither of those authors are lightweights, which is a good clue as to the quality of this book.
Sean Penn has written fiction before, using film as the medium to tell his stories. The difference now is he’s doing it on his own. Chafing at collaboration with other artists, a necessity in the film industry, he loved the experience of working alone. In his own words he was “not enjoying playing well with others as much as I used to.”
Now 57 years old, Penn is moving into a more solitary phase of his life, and is concerned about the legacy he leaves behind. “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is a welcome addition to his body of work.
Buy the book on Amazon.