Apparently Sean Penn does not like President Donald Trump. In fact he dislikes the current president so much that he dedicated the ending of his new book to him. It is presented in the style of a letter written by the titular character Bob Honey, and it calls Trump every bad name in the book. Although the recipient of the actual letter is called Mr. Landlord it is obvious that the character is based on Trump. Honey even dares Mr. Landlord to tweet him leaving no confusion as to who he is talking about. But Trump is not the only focal point of Penn’s new book, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff”, the Oscar-winner takes aim at a wide variety of targets.
The book is a unique brand of satire written in a fast-paced prose that almost sounds like ranting. Its plot is very liquid, the flow feeling very episodic rather than one concrete tale. It is a very interesting story, with vivid characters, and the unfaltering absurdity expected of satires. Penn stated that he felt led to write the novel in lieu of recent political trends. This is quite obvious in the way the book focuses on the media, marketing, social media, recent events like the Las Vegas shooting, political administrations, and movements like #MeToo.
Penn’s writing is very frenetic, and readers may have to scan passages once or twice to pick up all the nuggets he leaves behind. As with any satire the underlying inspiration is based on real events, paralleling them in a more absurdist tone. The dystopian America Bob lives in is a hyped up version of our own, but a version none the less. Bob’s frustration mirrors Penn’s, and the frustration of may like Penn. The references to current events like #MeToo are not disguised, and are mentioned by their actual names. The focus on #MeToo falling within the confines of a poem that serves as the epilogue.
Penn does not hold back in his opinions, attacking some subjects with feral savagery, using stinging description to paint a vivid picture of dislike. The main underlying story follows Bob Honey, a former septic tank salesmen as he meanders through crazy incidents. He holds many jobs, one of which is a contracted assassin for a cagey government agency. His assassin job sees Bob killing old people with a mallet to decrease the surplus population. When an investigative reporter begins sniffing around it throws Bob’s life into chaos.