Sean Penn, a well known actor and director, is now adding to his long list of credentials a writer. If you are like me, a millennial, you had to first figure out who Sean Penn is. Though, previously mentioned, Penn is known not just for his acting and directing; but he is a well known activist. He was married to Madonna at one time and even sued Lee Daniels in regards to false accusations of hitting women. “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is an interesting look into the man behind the book.
Penn’s style of writing has been seen as distracting with his, almost addictive, overuse of alliteration. Phrases like “Wader’s whimsy for wheeling Wahhabist roadways.” As a reader this can be distracting from the overall flow. He also incorporates his personal views into his characters in such a way that it seems there is no distinction between him and Bob.
After reading his book, the first thing that will stand out is the direct comparison to the times within the book and that with which is going on in the world. Penn makes references to the “Me Too” movement and the president. His character Bob is known to his neighbors as an antisocial problem (they call with complaints on him often). He hates how the world refuses to acknowledge milestones and memorable moments unless they are broadcast on social media.
While some find his book to be snarky, weird, but funny; others find the book thoroughly flawed. Entertainment Weekly described the book as a “stream of consciousness” rant about all the things he finds wrong in the world. He references people like Trump and el Chapo, not to mention his mention of events like the feud with North Korea; all of this points in the direction that although this was a fictional novel it had all the makings of a manifesto.
In the end his book lacked the experience of a writer. His plot was not fully developed and his writing was choppy due to his obsessive use of alliteration. Penn has the potential to write amazing work, especially with his background in the film industry, but “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” was not the jump start in a transition to writing.