At age 57, actor Sean Penn has published a novel, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,” and most critics agree that it’s content is as offbeat as its title. The main character is a depressed middle-aged man who does all kinds of odd jobs, from selling plumbing materials to doing murders for hire with a mallet.
The book was generating controversy before it even came out due to excerpts being published online where a character spoke disparagingly about both the #MeToo movement and the Trump presidency. Essentially, people felt that the Penn’s own opinions were being expressed, and not everyone was cool with them. At appearances on the book tour of Bob Honey Who Just Do stuff, to support his novel, however, Penn says that the opinions expressed are simply fiction and not necessarily his own. He also denies most of the comparisons that critics have made between his work and other authors because he hasn’t actually read any of the work of those writers.
Penn says that he enjoyed writing the novel, and, because of his age, felt that he was uninhibited and true to his own artistic vision. When he was younger, he says, he wanted to write a novel but couldn’t get too far because of his hectic schedule. As an older person, he made a conscious decision to cut back on his other commitments so that he could get some writing done. He also acknowledges that his novel is a complicated book for complicated times and that his protagonist isn’t always likable. Essentially, he sees “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” as a mirror on the world today.
In short, it appears that Penn has written a book as eclectic as his own career, during which he’s played a diversity of roles ranging from a gay activist to a murderer on death row. “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is just the latest chapter in a very public and memorable body of work.
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