Bishop's new book, Don't You Ever: My Mother and Her Secret Son, is
a moving and beautifully rendered memoir about the half-brother she didn’t know existed that hauntingly explores family, class, secrets, and fate.Here Bishop dreamacasts one of the lead roles in an adaptation of Don't You Ever:
Applying for a passport as an adult, Mary Carter Bishop made a shocking discovery. She had a secret half-brother. Her mother, a farm manager’s wife on a country estate, told Mary Carter the abandoned boy was a youthful "mistake" from an encounter with a married man. There’d been a home for unwed mothers; foster parents; an orphanage.
Nine years later, Mary Carter tracked Ronnie down at the barbershop where he worked, and found a near-broken man—someone kind, and happy to meet her, but someone also deeply and irreversibly damaged by a life of neglect and abuse at the hands of an uncaring system.
I’ve long imagined Daniel Day-Lewis as Ronnie, but didn’t Day-Lewis annouce after Phantom Thread that he wouldn’t take any more roles? (I hope I imagined that.) The thing is, as a young man Ronnie developed acromegaly, a rare hormonal disorder. Over decades it slowly deformed his face, dramatically enlarging his brow bone, nose, tongue, lips and jaws. It separated his teeth and wrecked organs throughout his body. I don’t recall Day-Lewis ever relying on appliances and extreme makeup, but I can’t see how they could be avoided with Ronnie’s portrayal. His hands and feet never quit growing after he developed the benign pituitary tumor that eventually brought him down. After he died, in his bedroom I found a forlorn mound of size fourteens and other large shoes.Learn more about Don't You Ever.