A bookstore in Oakland that caters to the African American community is refusing to sell the new book by gay author Jonathan Plummer. Plummer is the ex-husband of author Terry McMillan. McMillan's bestselling novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back was based on her relationship with Plummer, whom she met in Jamaica, and was turned into a blockbuster movie. After a very bitter divorce in 2005, McMillan publicly accused Plummer of concealing his homosexuality from her in order to get her money and a green card. Plummer denied the charges.
Plummer's novel, called Balancing Act (Simon and Schuster), is the story of a young man who meets and forms a romantic relationship with an older rich woman, but eventually realizes he is gay. Still, Plummer insists the novel is not autobiographical. "It's fiction," he said. "The best way possible to tell the [coming out] story was to do fiction, where we can elaborate on characters and embellish on their lives."
Marcus Books in Oakland has refused to stock the novel. When contacted by the Bay Area Reporter store employees declined to comment on the issue. However, a Marcus Books employee has been quoted as saying that the decision not to stock the book was merely "a personal preference." The store's decision may be sending the wrong message to the LGBT community, some of whom are viewing it as motivated by homophobia. Berkeley City Council member Darryl Moore, who is African American and openly gay, said, "It's unfortunate that Marcus Books, which has stood for change and been progressive, would deny a man who's openly gay to have his book [sold]. It speaks to the homophobia in the African American community. The whole incident is tragic between [McMillan and Plummer], but this gentleman has written a book to express his side, and to have it banned because he's openly gay is just outrageous to me."
Without openly accusing the store of homophobia, Plummer also expressed disappointment over its decision. "It's unfortunate that an African American bookstore is banning my book," he said. "We need a lot more compassion for this book, especially with this story being the story of the Bay Area."