Like a bizarro version of ex-wife Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Jonathan Plummer’s Balancing Act follows the story of a young Jamaican seduced by a powerful American woman. And, as in Jamaica-born Plummer’s real life, the young lover breaks the wealthy woman’s heart by coming out and scandal ensues.
Despite the admitted parallels to his life – one passage explicitly refers to Stella’s titular groove – Plummer calls his book fiction. Simon & Schuster’s legal department even made sure to include a disclaimer saying as much. Still, we’ve got our doubts.
One thing’s for sure: the book’s opened an entirely new chapter of drama for Plummer, McMillan and a slew of new characters.
33-year old Plummer first popped into popular culture in 1995, when Waiting To Exhale novelist Terry McMillan jetted to Jamaica for a mid-life sabbatical. It’s on the island that McMillan met and wooed Plummer, a Jamaican national who moved to America for her, thus providing a neat ending for what would become How Stella Got Her Groove Back. They married in 1998.
The seemingly storybook romance would come crashing down six years later, when Plummer came out of the closet. McMillan filed for divorce one month later. At the time, McMillan said:
It was devastating to discover that a relationship I had publicized to the world as life-affirming and built on mutual love was actually based on deceit. I was humiliated.
And then she got angry. McMillan accused Plummer of knowingly deceiving her and Plummer called the novelist a homophobe. The drama continued this year, when McMillan filed a $40 million lawsuit against Plummer.
Now, over six months later, Plummer’s released his own book, Balancing Act. Sold as a coming out novel, this waste of paper’s nothing more than Plummer’s vain – and vapid – attempt to tell his side of the story. Yes, he told us the book’s “total fiction,” but breaks down in knowing giggles when the issue’s pressed.
Balancing Act tells the tale of a man named Jonathan who’s plucked from Jamaica by a powerful American woman, Tasha. As the predictable story unfolds, nascent supermodel Justin comes into his latent homosexuality, thus throwing a wrench in his sumptuous, money soaked relationship with Tasha. A true “hero”, as Plummer calls him, Justin comes out to Tasha, who flies off the handle and unleashes a series of vengeful events. Sound familiar? It should. Sound trite? Definitely.