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My Government Means to Kill Me: A Novel By Rasheed Newson Cover Image

My Government Means to Kill Me: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Written from the perspective of a fictional young black gay man, we get to experience the character coming into his own voice and power through the gay rights movement. Although this book is fiction, most of the other characters are real people who impacted the political environment of this time period. I could not put it down! ~Ashley

— From Ashley



The debut novel from television WRITER/PRODUCER OF THE CHI, NARCOS, and BEL-AIR tells 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.

"Consistently engrossing." New York Times Book Review

“Full of joy and righteous anger, sex and straight talk, brilliant storytelling and humor... 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.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less

Earl "Trey" Singleton III arrives in New York City with only a few dollars in his pocket. Born into a wealthy Black Indianapolis family, at 17, he is ready to leave his overbearing parents and their expectations behind.

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.

About the Author

Rasheed Newson is a writer and producer of Bel-Air, The Chi, and Narcos. He currently resides in Pasadena, California with his husband and two children. My Government Means to Kill Me is his debut novel.

Praise For…

Extraordinary…shines a vivid light onto underappreciated aspects of our history through the life of a gay Black teenager…The book’s greatest charm lies in the sensitivity and subtlety of its narrative.” —The New York Times Book Review

"This book is a truly unique queer coming-of-age novel." Buzzfeed

“In this debut novel, a queer young Black man leaves behind his comfortable family life