The Only Way Through Is Out
Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies
David Bergman, Joan Larkin, and Raphael Kadushin, Founding Editors
“With candor and deep vulnerability, Mullen offers a compelling, honest, and hopeful memoir that examines the hidden truths involved in accepting our deepest wants and desires. The Only Way Through Is Out is a lesson to all of us on what great things can happen when we act with authenticity.”
Is it ever too late for a new beginning? Is it ever too late to live out loud?
Suzette Mullen had been raised to play it safe—and she hated causing others pain. With college and law degrees, a kind and successful husband, two thriving adult sons, and an ocean-view vacation home, she lived a life many people would envy. But beneath the happy facade was a woman who watched her friends walk boldly through their lives and wondered what was holding her back from doing the same.
Digging into her past, Suzette uncovered a deeply buried truth: she’d been in love with her best friend—a woman—for nearly two decades—and still was. Leaning into these “unspeakable” feelings would put Suzette’s identity, relationships, and life of privilege at risk—but taking this leap might be her only chance to feel fully alive. As Suzette opened herself up to new possibilities, an unexpected visit to a new city helped her discover who she was meant to be.
Introspective, bittersweet, and empowering, The Only Way Through Is Out is both a coming-out and coming-of-age story, as well as a call to action for every human who is longing to live authentically but is afraid of the cost.
“I could not put this book down. Suzette shows us the search for one’s authentic self has no expiration date and is worth whatever it takes. This book is a glorious tale of tenacious courage that any woman searching for her path in life will love.”
—Jennifer Louden, national bestselling author of Why Bother? Discover the Desire for What’s Next
“In The Only Way Through Is Out, Suzette Mullen reveals how she unearthed her true sexual identity from beneath a mountain of cultural, familial, and internalized heteronormativity. Swimming upstream, she emerges in midlife as the heroine of her own story, and as inspiration to any reader struggling to express their most authentic self.”
—Robin Rinaldi, author of The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Quest for Passion at Any Cost
“An honest and insightful delve into coming out later in life, The Only Way Through Is Out is filled with tears, laughter, and, above all, hope.”
—Lara Lillibridge, author of Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home
“In this courageous memoir, the reader feels keenly both the writer’s anguish and her emerging strength as she chooses between a safe, comfortable path and a leap into the unknown. With raw honesty, Mullen is willing to make herself vulnerable on almost every page of this story of poignant loss and sustaining gain, as she stills the external voices in her world and listens to her own truth.”
—Mary Alice Hostetter, author of Plain: A Memoir of Mennonite Girlhood
“A memoir of discovering one’s sexuality and finding the courage to act, the book has a strong positive message for the many people who come out later in life—the late bloomers, as they are known in the queer community. Such stories are important, and this one is told well and fun to read.”
—Lori Soderlind, author of The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour
“An affecting coming-into-consciousness narrative that burrows into the urgencies of queer awakening and carries its reader through the agonies and ecstasies of living one’s truth. Suzette Mullen masterfully conjures the battling inner voices that prolong the reconciliation of her Christian beliefs with the urgings of her body and heart. A touching, visceral story that celebrates giving into queer joy, no matter how long it takes.”
—Alden Jones, author of The Wanting Was a Wilderness
“Candid, inspirational. . . . An emotive memoir that issues a stirring call to women to choose self-actualization.”
“Mullen is highly relatable and perfectly conveys her story of losing something that was important to her in order to gain something that can never be replaced—getting to know herself.”
—Out Front Magazine
Table of Contents
The Man I Love
Listen and Lean In
Zone of Privacy
The Dating Game
Choices and Consequences
Of Related Interest