Sean Penn’s debut book is getting gleefully torn apart by critics who are calling it a ‘garbage novel’

  • Sean Penn’s first novel just made its debut and it’s getting terrible reviews.
  • “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” is a satirical novel that’s a comment on the current culture in America.
  • One critic called it a “garbage novel” and another called it “a book-shaped thing.”
  • Penn’s been doing press for the book, which included an awkward appearance on Colbert where he smoked and said he was on Ambien.

“What have you done this time, Sean Penn?” Jeff Giles of The New York Times wrote of Oscar winner Sean Penn’s debut novel.

Penn has been all over the media recently, but he’s not promoting a new movie, or an edgy HBO show. He’s promoting his debut novel, a satirical book called “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, published on March 27. The book is described on Amazon as a “darkly funny” novel about “a modern American man, entrepreneur, and part-time assassin.”

The reviews are terrible and his media appearances have been bizarre.

On “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, a disheveled Penn said he was a bit groggy because he had taken Ambien. He smoked a cigarette throughout the entire interview. Thankfully, Colbert came prepared with an ash tray.

Penn also made a strange appearance on the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.” When Maron asked him about his relationship with his ex-wife Robin Wright (“House of Cards”), he gave a long, confusing answer about how their views on parenting are different. When Maron asked him to be more specific, he said it was too personal.

Penn’s novel ends with a poem about the #MeToo movement that hasn’t been well-received, especially because rumours about Penn physically abusing ex-wife Madonna have swirled for years – appearing in the 1991 book, “Madonna Unauthorised,” and being the subject of a 2015 defamation suit Penn brought against Lee Daniels. Both Madonna and Penn have denied that any domestic violence took place.

Here are some of the most scathing things critics and people on Twitter have said about Sean Penn’s debut novel:

“What have you done this time, Sean Penn? What is this book-shaped thing that lies before us? Is it just a lark — a nutty novel you wrote because you’re famous and they let you?”


The New York Times also calls the satirical novel plotless and “conspicuously un-fun.”

“Penn delivers prose as if he were gunning for a prize from the American Alliteration Association.”


In a review with with “What Is Sean Penn Thinking?” in the headline, The Washington Post points out alliterations in the book including “Dreams died like destiny’s deadwood,” “Spurley sloppily slurps,” and “racial rancor by Ruger in a country rife with rule of law.”

“Scattered throughout is the sort of gleeful racism and misogyny that qualifies Penn’s work as ‘darkly comic.'”


HuffPost calls the book a “garbage novel” that is “nonsensical, unpleasant and left me sweaty with mingled horror and confusion.”

And people on Twitter have similar thoughts.

The book’s epilogue is a poem about the #MeToo movement that is not getting well-received.