The purpose of a debut novel is so the writer becomes noticed. This was an effective philosophy for Sean Penn when he wrote the controversial book Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. The book is oddball Americans and can confuse readers with the satirical tone and loose narrative. The story is about a man with numerous jobs including selling Jehovah’s Witnesses’ septic tanks, arranging fireworks for dictators, rescuing Hasidic Jews by accident and assassinating the elderly with a mallet.
Sean Penn has won several Oscars and is considered a fine actor. The book is his attempt to push his achievements to a new level. This novel may add a new chapter to the story of Sean Penn. He wrote the book as a representation of his opinion on the state of the country. He says other writers have influenced his freedom with words but he used his own voice. He admits the voice is exaggerated but stated it came from life and imagination.
Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff started out as an audiobook prior to becoming a novel. This was due to Sean Penn having little experience with publishing. He also wanted something available prior to the election. He said by the time he turned 57 he was ready to write a novel and go all the way. In the past he attempted to write a novel but his life interfered. He says he had fun with the book and was surprised he had not completed something sooner. The book represents the current political climate’s quicksand and the idea is to see if Bob can dance upon that quicksand.
Sean Penn sees the novel as a type of moral compass. He believes anyone with an understanding of a chaotic society will have empathy for the characters. He has demonstrated the complexity of America through the character of Bob. He wrote about a letter Bob sent to the Landlord stating the nation needs an assassin. He meant this as a metaphor and has not yet received any criticism for the statement. Sean Penn did not write the novel to describe the country’s leadership but rather the culture.
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