Suzette Mullen with Ronit Plank — 'The Only Way Through Is Out'

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.


Third Place Books is delighted to welcome Suzette Mullen to our Seward Park store! Mullen will be discussing her new memoir, The Only Way Through is Out, in conversation with Ronit Plank, author of Home is a Made-Up Place and host of the podcast Let’s Talk Memoir. This event is free and open to the public.

For important updates, registration is highly recommended in advance. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About The Only Way Through is Out. . .

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.

Praise for The Only Way Through is Out. . .

“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

“I could not put this book down. Mullen 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 anyone 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

“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.”
—Jessi Hempel, author of The Family Outing

Suzette Mullen is the founder of Your Story Finder nonfiction book coaching and a founding board member of the Lancaster (PA) LGBTQ+ Coalition. Her “tiny love story,” the seed which became this book, was published in the New York Times “Modern Love” column. (Photo credit: Ashleigh Taylor)

Ronit Plank is a Seattle-based writer, teacher, and editor whose work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Writer’s DigestThe Rumpus, American Literary Review, Hippocampus, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir When She Comes Back about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named a 2021 Best True Crime Book by Book Riot and was a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards, the Housatonic Book Awards, and the Book of the Year Awards. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, the Best of the Net, and the Best Microfiction Anthology, and her short story collection Home Is a Made-Up Place won Hidden River Arts' Eludia Award. Her weekly podcast Let’s Talk Memoir features interviews with memoirists about craft, the creative process, and the writing life and is available on Apple, Spotify, and at

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

Third Place Books Events Code of Conduct: Third Place Books is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of event attendees and guest authors, during both online and in-store events. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior and harassment of any kind throughout the course of this event (i.e. racial slurs, profanity, hate speech, spam comments, etc.). Please note that any participants who engage in inappropriate behavior or harassment of any kind will be immediately ejected from the event.

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