Extraordinary ... Trey’s also a lively narrator, and he folds these adages neatly into his adventures. The footnotes distract from the story at times, but never derail it, because the story is consistently engrossing ... It shines a vivid light onto underappreciated aspects of our history. However, the book’s greatest charm lies in the sensitivity and subtlety of its narrative ... Trey never loses his sense of humor, and one can’t help rooting for him as he matures with each chapter ... This book could be taught in schools.
... vibrant ... At one point, Trey admits that among Rustin’s recommended books, he’s able to grasp the biographies but has a hard time with political theory. It appears that the book in our hands is the one he wrote for young people like himself who may also need to learn even as they throw themselves into activist work. Who provided the annotations, which are full of historical context, is less clear; even though they’re helpful — mainly to an audience less familiar with both Black and queer history — they aren’t utilized as well as they might be for a full meta-textual effect. But that’s a small flaw in an otherwise marvelous read ... The book is also a love letter to activism, which isn’t to say it glamorizes it — quite the opposite ... To the well-versed in the era’s politics, the many luminaries Trey meets and the historic events he finds himself at the center of might seem far-fetched, but there’s a sense that Newson is winking at those of us in the know, inviting us into that space of wondering what we might have done or failed to do if we had lived then and there. And as for the majority of readers, the book provides a crash course in the history of a pivotal era via a vividly imagined lived experience. Much like Trey being schooled by Rustin 'with such a light touch,' readers of My Government Means to Kill Me may not even realize they’re 'getting smarter about gay culture and politics.'
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...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.