In the spring of 2018, Sean Penn released his novel “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.” As he told Trevor Noah and Vogue Magazine, he has stepped away from film and has worked on this as a new medium for his views. Penn told Noah that the book looks into the “dark nature of humans” and their fascination with fascism; to Vogue he mentions that his book runs on a parallel plain the #METOO movement. As discussed by Trevor Noah, the book is hard to describe and is many ways a strange story with no formal plot or structure. Penn says that the book talks of how the U.S. tries to export democracy and at times can create fascism in its place. He feels that this issue is now occurring in the U.S. as well. The book tells the story of Bob Honey, an angry and pessimistic American. When not angrily throwing parties at his house, he goes on mallet wielding sprees, killing senior citizens whom he feel stand in the way of progress.
Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff seems to be a metaphor for the current state of events, as Bob witnesses the U.S. election of 2016, and even writes an angry letter to the President of the U.S., telling him that the job is real, but he isn’t fit for it. Penn claims that Bob is supposed to resemble the person who is compelled to serve their country, but lacks a purpose or direction. This in many ways could explain why Bob goes on mallet wielding sprees, feeling that he is doing a service to society.
Other than discussing the book in the interviews, Penn also mentions how his own experiences reflect in the book. He talks of his service towards Haiti victims, and how Trump’s comments angered him. He also discusses his unlikely friendship with Hugo Chavez, and his disgust for the war on drugs, and why the interview with El Chapo was necessary. As Penn told Vogue, it seems he has lost his intention to work in film, but he found a new medium in writing.