Common Scents: Adventures in Autism and Chemical Sensitivity

Common Scents: Adventures in Autism and Chemical Sensitivity ON SALE NOW!


                                  A memoir by Kate Goldfield

A tale of adventure

It's a tale of adventure. A story of growth. A look into the human psyche, you might say.

 Growing up is hard for everyone. It's even harder for those with autism or Asperger's Syndrome (AS). Things that everyone else takes for granted - social interactions, being able to navigate a busy grocery store, making friends - are significant challenges for people with AS. It's harder still when you have to deal with chemical sensitivity as well. Suddenly, no place is safe anymore, because people's perfumes, lotions, and shampoos, as well as cleaning products and fragrances in stores, make you so sick that the normal activities of life become almost impossible.

So what happens when a 22 year old with both autism and chemical sensitivity leaves college and tries to make her way in the world?

"Common Scents: Adventures with Autism and Chemical Sensitivity" is the story of a young woman's search for physical and emotional safety as she journeys through the mountains of the Cascades, small coastal towns on the Oregon coast, and out-of the-way towns in upstate New York. Along the way, she experiences things she would never have dreamed possible had she stayed in her Maine hometown, and begins to learn the power of human connection.

Yachats, Oregon, May 2009

More About This Book

The book starts in the spring of the author's senior year of college, where she is forced to leave school because of her growing chemical sensitivities. With much regret, she moves home and spends several months living with her parents.

Desiring independence, she tries to live in several apartments of her own in downtown Portland, Maine. Unfortunately, something in one of the apartments makes her sensitivity to chemicals so much worse that she is not able to tolerate any apartments, nor her parents' house.

So her journey for a chemical free living environment starts.
Primarily using the website Craigslist to find roommates who already live a chemical and fragrance free lifestyle to live with, she travels to cities across the country to pursue this goal. She starts in Burlington, Vermont, and goes to Missoula, Montana; Liberty, New York; Newport, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; Ballston Spa, New York, and finally back to her hometown of Falmouth, Maine.

In each of these cities, her eyes are opened to the way the rest of the world lives. Each city is a separate chapter. In each city, she recreates the experiences that changed the way she sees the world. In each city, the author talks about the people she meets, and details her struggles and successes with interacting with the people around her.

 Bend, Oregon, June, 2009

What You'll Get Out Of This Book

- You'll learn what it's like to have Asperger's Syndrome, from the point of view of a 22 year old woman with AS

- You'll learn tips and tools people with AS can use to help deal with challenging situations

- You'll learn more about what the world looks from the perspective of your son, daughter or other loved one with AS, therefore helping you to understand them better

- You'll get a great adventure story that takes place in eight different cities, and you'll get a taste for what life is like in each city - a travelogue, if you will, that will delight all your senses.

- A meditation on relationships with others, and how we go about building them.

- You'll learn all about a condition called multiple chemical sensitivity; how common household products are slowly poisoning us; and how you can change certain parts of your lifestyle to live a healthier, non-toxic life. In this narrative, you will get a peek into what it is like to live life as a chemically sensitive person.

           Dexter, Oregon, August 2009


What People Are Saying About Common Scents: Adventures in Autism and Chemical Sensitivities

"Your writing style is SO engaging and interesting. It brings me right into the subject and I always experience a little emotional punch towards the end. In other words, this is the third time I've teared-up reading your work. You've highlighted ALL the problems with how social skills are usually taught."  - Mother of an Asperger's child

"Lovers of narrative will be drawn to to your work as a memoir. And it will speak to them. Your work is also educational." - Psychology graduate student  

"I stayed up entirely too late reading the first few chapters.  I can relate to so much of what you write.  I really think you are expressing the true experience with MCS and autism in words that convey the experience." - person with MCS [multiple chemical sensitivities]

"You definitely opened my eyes to see relationships in a different way." - person with autism

"This is absolutely interesting, insightful and witty. You've blended together your three themes beautifully  (Asperger's, MCS and travelling). It seems seamless!" - person with MCS

"I love this book. lt is tight, descriptive, and the travelogue element is so engaging. In your Newport chapter, I could see the storybook setting, the peacock, the house. And the Asperger's element is remarkable. I feel that I understand my son better, so much better."  - mother of an AS child

"Your writing packs an emotional punch for me. I've been pondering why and I think it's because you write with refreshing honesty, a lack of ego and a joyful desire to learn and grow." - person with MCS

Ballston Spa, New York, September 2009

If you buy Common Scents: Adventures in Autism and Chemical Sensitivities, you'll get:

- an engaging memoir you won't soon forget

- access to the author by the email address provided at the end of the book, who will answer any questions you might have; free email consultations about autism are included in the price of the book.

- A supplemental section at the end of the book with additional essays on autism

- Access to additional essays about autism by the author through the email address at the end of the book

So why should you buy this book?

- Help understand your loved one with Asperger's or autism better!

- Enjoy an engaging travel memoir that starts in Maine, meanders to Vermont, Montana, New York and Oregon before finally ending back in Maine two years later.

- Learn more about loved ones who might have chemical sensitivities

 South Portland. Maine, Spring 2010

Free Shipping for Summer 2010!

Buy now and you'll get FREE SHIPPING on Common Scents: Adventures in Autism and Chemical Sensitivities. Just click below to buy, and be sure to leave a review once you've read it to let us know how you liked it!

 Electronic (PDF) copies of the book are also available. See link on left side.

 Paying by Paypal is also available if you wish - for the PDF form, use the link on this site; for the paperback version, email me to discuss: Email

Click HERE to buy "Common Scents."


Yes, I want to buy Common Scents: Adventures in Autism and Chemical Sensitivities. I understand that if I buy now I will get free shipping and a special summer price. 

  Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Spring 2010

Thanks for coming!

Kate Goldfield