On April 4 of this year Oscar-winning actor and director Sean Penn was interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine on his recent publication, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.
Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff is a satirical novel centered around the life of a middle-aged man named Bob Honey, who subsists on odd-jobs ranging from selling septic tanks to Jehovah’s Witnesses to killing elderly people with a wooden mallet. As these job titles suggest, the novel depicts a series of violent misadventures experienced by the protagonist.
In this interview, Sean Penn reveals that Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff is a satirical take on his own views on the current political climate; the novel is intended to be read like a “snapshot” of political sentiment in the United States, with the protagonist serving as a symbol of loneliness and isolation.
Although the interviewer pointed out that an excerpt in the back of Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff compared Sean Penn’s writing to the likes of Terry Southern and Thomas Pynchon, Penn denies any influence by these authors and does not recall readingt their work, claiming that the section was written by someone else. Penn attributes his writing style to himself; basically, he is a product of his own making. Like his time in cinema, his mindset while writing the novel was one of individuality: it was crucial to him that the voice in the novel was entirely his and not strongly reflective of any other writer.
Indeed, when asked about his motive behind publishing this book, Penn gushed over the enjoyment of the writing process. He prefers it over his recent experiences in filmmaking, pointing out that he is not confined by collaboration with others in writing this novel. Through the writing process, he was able to find humor whereas he felt other parts of his life wanting in that respect. He hopes that rather than overanalyze his novel and politicize it, readers will just enjoy the bool for what it is: satire.
To buy the book, you can find it on amazon.