My Government Means to Kill Me: A Novel (Hardcover)
MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2022 by The New York Times, Bustle, Goodreads, The Boston Globe, LitHub, and more!
A fierce and riveting queer coming-of-age story following the personal and political awakening of a young gay Black man in 1980s New York City, from the television drama writer and producer of The Chi, Narcos, and Bel-Air
"This book is a truly unique queer coming-of-age novel." —Buzzfeed
“Full of joy and righteous anger, sex and straight talk, brilliant storytelling and humor, Rasheed Newson’s debut novel has given us the story of Trey, set against the history of 80s queer Black New York, AIDS, and the movements that changed the era. A spectacularly researched Dickensian tale with vibrant characters and dozens of famous cameos, it is precisely the book we’ve needed for a long time. That—and a rollicking read! What more could you want?” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less
Born into a wealthy Black Indianapolis family, Earl “Trey” Singleton III leaves his overbearing parents and their expectations behind by running away to New York City with only a few dollars in his pocket. In the city, Trey meets up with a cast of characters that changes his life forever. He volunteers at a renegade home hospice for AIDS patients, and after being put to the test by gay rights activists, becomes a member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). Along the way Trey attempts to navigate past traumas and searches for ways to maintain familial relationships—all while seeking the meaning of life amid so much death.
Vibrant, humorous, and fraught with entanglements, Rasheed Newson’s My Government Means to Kill Me is an exhilarating, fast-paced coming-of-age story that lends itself to a larger discussion about what it means for a young gay Black man in the mid-1980s to come to terms with his role in the midst of a political and social reckoning.
"Newson...lends his cinematic eye to his novel, which makes the grit, the sex, the activism and the political struggle all the more atmospheric and immersive. In short, I’ve never been prouder of an 18-year-old narrator who leads us through the New York City streets, and compels not just his friends and network to action, but the reader too." —Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor
“In this debut novel, a queer young Black man leaves behind his comfortable family life in Indianapolis and heads to New York in the 1980s, which provides a thrilling, occasionally enraging, political and societal backdrop for his coming-of-age.” —The New York Times
“My Government Means to Kill Me is an action-packed, entertaining inside look at the life of a young political rebel. Written with unflinching tenderness, Newson gives us an honest and compelling portrait of a gay Black man coming of age.” —Matthew A. Cherry, Academy Award-winning director of Hair Love
“Hilarious, heartbreaking, and sexy as all get out.” —Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Treasure
“Fresh, vibrant and utterly unapologetic. Rasheed Newson has written an unforgettable, take-no-prisoners novel alive with humor and full of urgency. Newson’s Trey and his determination to live life on his own terms, even in the face of death all around him, brings into three dimension an era of New York Queer life that, too often, has been flattened and whitewashed by history.” —Xochitl Gonzalez, author of New York Times bestseller Olga Dies Dreaming
“Delightful and fast-paced, a fascinating narrative of queer activism during the AIDS epidemic.” —Kirkus
“Newson’s attention to historical details gives this moving novel a sense of urgency and immediacy.” —Book Riot
"An episodic narrative about learning to navigate the world, this novel is both hilarious and angry."
—The Boston Globe
"A powerful story about Trey, a young, gay, Black man in 1980s New York City as he comes of age personally and politically. Newson’s writing is crisp and clear, witty and engrossing—the kind of prose that pulls you in so quickly you’ll miss your subway stop." —CrimeReads