My Government Means To Kill Me

Flatiron. Aug. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250833525. $27.99. F
DEBUT A young gay man’s life in 1980s New York City is the subject of this novel, both a coming-of-age tale and homage to the civil and gay rights movements. Earl “Trey” Singleton is an upper-middle class Black man whose family life in Indianapolis was shattered by the violent death of his younger brother. Moving to New York at 18, just as the AIDS epidemic arrived, Trey is caught between worlds, hanging around the bathhouses, while volunteering at an illegal hospice taking care of dying AIDS patients. He makes his first foray into politics by organizing a successful rent strike against his landlord, Fred Trump, and eventually finds his way into the militant wing of the gay rights movement. A historical work seemingly written with an eye toward the future, this copiously footnoted novel numbers prominent figures of the time among its characters and namechecks others. But while useful when referencing more obscure figures, are footnotes telling readers who Ronald Reagan and Prince were really necessary?
VERDICT Unfortunately, the raw, powerful immediacy of the novel is too often interrupted by a didactic distraction that mostly functions to distance the reader from the action, but Newson’s reputation as a TV writer/showrunner (Bel-Air) will attract attention.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing