The first book from any would-be writer always sets a precedent. First impressions are important, and even if a new writer can be excused a few mistakes, their first outing still carries a lot of weight. Sean Penn is not new to the world of writing. The Oscar-winning actor has written screenplays and articles throughout his illustrious career. This is the first time he has written a book thought, and his first outing is definitely earning him some comments.
Penn’s first book is dubbed, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff“, and in many ways is just a tirade of thought wrapped in a thin fabric of story. The narrative style of Honey is episodic in nature, although there is no real concrete plot. It fires off like a series of memoires, intermixed with poetry, and some minute raving. The book falls under the genre of satire, and Penn certainly has a lot to say through it.
The story follows Bob Honey, an ex-septic tank salesman, ex-husband, and ex-believer in America. He is disgruntled, unhappy, and has trouble connecting with people. He also moonlights as a government assassin. The shady sect of the government he works for using Honey to dispatch old people in order to save the environment. An act he accomplishes by using a mallet.
Honey is obviously a stand in for Penn, lamenting on the state of his country, and venting his many frustration for all to hear. The president of his dystopian version of the U.S. of A. is aptly called Mr. Landlord. An obvious salute to Trump, the book finishes with Honey writing a fiery letter to the president.
Penn does not stop there thought, as many more subjects get focus in his book. An epilogue after the conclusion, written in poem form speaks out against many things. It blames the media for violence, stating that they glorify such things. It also admonishes #MeToo for using playground tactics that infantilize the serious subjects they abdicate. Infantilize is actually the word Penn uses. Honey is also not a fan of social media, which he considers to be marketing.
As with any satire the book contains nuggets of the writer’s truth within its pages, presenting his unique opinions on current events. But they are just opinions, and everybody is entitled to their own set. According to Penn the book is also open to the readers’ interpretation.