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My Government Means to Kill Me: A Novel Hardcover – August 23, 2022

4.5 out of 5 stars 61 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of August 2022: Laugh out loud moments give way to galvanizing moments in this unputdownable debut by Rasheed Newson. Set in the 1980s, My Government Means to Kill Me follows the trajectory of a young Black man who ditches his wealthy Midwest family to go be free and uninhibited in New York. When not spending time in men's bath houses, he gets an education in the Civil Rights movement, community organizing, and the fight for gay rights, among other things. Newson, the writer and producer behind Narcos, The Chi, and Bel-Air, 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


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."

“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

“Newson’s debut is
an audacious, vibrant Ragtime-esque ride through the sordid sanctuary of AIDS-era New York, a book about sex and activism and the power we have to liberate ourselves.” ―Electric Literature

"This book should charm its way onto lots of best books of the year lists."
―Philadelphia Inquirer

A fast-moving and riveting examination of what it means to build a life in the middle of a deadly epidemic.” ―Arlington Magazine

My Government Means to Kill Me is not only a brilliant historical novel of those times, it is a bold statement of how someone who could have been an outcast doesn't settle for being left out.” ―Daily Kos

"From its use of footnotes to the historical figures that appear, the Bel Air co-showrunner's historical fiction debut delivers education and fun in equal measure." ―Entertainment Weekly

"Equal parts humor and heartbreak, masterfully fictionalizing real details to produce
a deeply engaging but also heavily researched Bildungsroman." ―them

Fiction that matters and is likely to endure." ―Bay Area Reporter

" expertly-paced read." ―Electric Literature

"Proof that writers can revere and play with history at the same time...
Newson's prose is engaging and entertaining, and he captures the dynamics of found families." ―BookPage

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Flatiron Books (August 23, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250833523
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250833525
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.01 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.45 x 1.15 x 9.55 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61 ratings

About the author

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Rasheed grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is the eldest of three children. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he wrote movie reviews for the school newspaper, The Hoya. During his time in Washington, D.C., Rasheed also worked in the communication department for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. For five years, he volunteered as a tutor/caretaker at Grandma’s House, a group home for foster care children who were HIV+ or living with AIDS.

In 2002, Rasheed moved to Los Angeles and joined the entertainment industry. He worked as a production assistant; an executive assistant; an assistant to a showrunner; and the second assistant to a network president. He has an ID badge from every studio lot.

Rasheed’s writing career began when he partnered up with T.J. Brady, and together they were hired as staff writers on the Fox drama "Lie to Me." As a writing team, Rasheed and T.J. have worked on "Bel-Air," "The Chi," and "Narcos," among other drama series. Rasheed and T.J. are currently executive producers and showrunners of "Bel-Air."

Rasheed lives with his husband and their two children in Pasadena, California.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
61 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Lily Rooke
2.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed learning about the history but struggled with the narrative voice
Reviewed in Japan 🇯🇵 on September 9, 2022