Enter to win 1 of 2 copies of The Foundling. Select “continue reading”, details will be below interview. Read on below the blurb for our reviews on the book “The Foundling” by Paul Joseph Fronczak.
The Foundling tells the incredible and inspiring true story of Paul Fronczak, a man who recently discovered via a DNA test that he was not who he thought he was—and set out to solve two fifty-year-old mysteries at once. Along the way he upturned the genealogy industry, unearthed his family’s deepest secrets, and broke open the second longest cold-case in US history, all in a desperate bid to find out who he really is.
In 1964, a woman pretending to be a nurse kidnapped an infant boy named Paul Fronczak from a Chicago hospital.
Two years later, police found a boy abandoned outside a variety store in New Jersey. The FBI tracked down Dora Fronczak, the kidnapped infant’s mother, and she identified the abandoned boy as her son. The family spent the next fifty years believing they were whole again—but Paul was always unsure about his true identity.
Then, four years ago—spurred on by the birth of his first child, Emma Faith—Paul took a DNA test. The test revealed definitively that he was not Paul Fronczak. From that moment on, Paul has been on a tireless mission to find the man whose life he’s been living—and to discover who abandoned him, and why.
This is the story of Paul’s heart-wrenching and tortuous journey to solve both mysteries and finally learn the truth about his identity.
The Foundling is a touching and inspiring story about a child lost and faith found, about the permanence of families and the bloodlines that define you, and about the emotional toll of both losing your identity and rediscovering who you truly are.
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The Foundling by Paul Fronczak is a true story about a boy strayed at childhood and connected to a kidnapping. I was extremely engaged because I’d never heard this story. The book quickly turns into a search through his past and continues on that path until the final conclusion.
I had to learn what was going to happen with Paul. I wasn’t happy with many of Paul’s choices, but had high hopes for him, and understand how one needs to know their origins. I agreed with his wife in that he was not necessarily wasting his time, but that there was the possibility it would never come to an end, and there might be unanswered questions.
I found many parts sad and can’t imagine how arduous his journey must’ve been. In the end, I felt sorry for him and his family. He spent so much time on a group of people that didn’t seem to want anything to do with him.
I do understand in my own way how Paul felt as I’ve had a similar experience, but at some point I suppose you have to accept things for the way they are.
It’s certainly a page turner.
4**** and very glad to have read it…
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for a review.
Stacy’s Review: ***** 5 stars
Wow– all I can say is that. RTC. I need time to digest this.
Every parent’s worst nightmare. A baby is born, and only a day old disappears out of the hospital in Chicago by a woman dressed like a nurse. Gone without a trace. The hospital doesn’t bother to tell you, the mother, for several hours after they discover that the baby is gone. 2 years later, a boy that seems to be the right age is abandoned in New Jersey. After doing every test available in 1966 to determine who the child might belong to, the FBI thinks he might be the one kidnapped 2 years prior in Chicago. Sound too far fetched to be true? Guess again.
This story is about the 2nd oldest cold case infant kidnapping in FBI history, and to a large extent has never been resolved. In the quest to find answers, only more mysteries emerged, evidence of more crime found. The case has never been solved. I can’t even begin to imagine the hell the Fronczak parents went through, nor the boy the book is about. I can’t imagine what went through his biological parents’ heads to do whatever they did. This story touched so many lives, and I empathize with Paul Fronczak in his journey to answer his lifelong questions that are at the core of everyone– who am I, where did I come from, except for most of us, the basic answers to those questions are easy: my parents are…., I come from generations of…. my grandparents emigrated from… etc, but not only for himself, but also his daughter. He couldn’t answer basic questions about family health history to wife’s obstetrician. What if their daughter should inherit something that could possibly come from him, and no one had any idea. I can’t imagine the vacuous void he carried in him his whole life, not knowing who he was. I can’t imagine his parents, hoping they raised their own son but not knowing for sure.
In the search, what is dug up is lots of things that were maybe better forgotten. His quest became a compulsion that nearly destroyed his marriage, and the relationship with his adopted parents. This book will stay with me forever. It raises many questions, should he have been happy not knowing? When things started to come out, should he have just dropped the whole thing? If you were in his shoes, wanting forever to know the truth about yourself and your origins, could you?
I received this book from Netgalley. Thanks to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for an unforgettable book.
Interview with Paul Fronczak
Twogalsandabook: Did you ever think you would be a writer?
Paul Fronczak: No, not in a million years. But I have always liked storytelling, and for a long time I was an actor, and working on a book was just a different way of communicating thoughts and emotions with your audience.
Twogalsandabook: What was your main reason for writing this book?
Paul Fronczak: Well, there were two reasons. The first one was that I still need a lot of answers in my search for the real Paul Fronczak, and I’m hoping that by sharing my story with the world someone will read about it and maybe contact me with an important lead or clue. You never know where the next important tip will come from. The second reason for sharing my story is that I really feel it will help other people like me who are searching for answers and trying to find their real identity. I wanted to be able to help and inspire other people like me out there.
Twogalsandabook: Have you written anything else?
Paul Fronczak: No, this is my first book. But I did write several songs when I was in the band Montreal in the 1980’s.
Twogalsandabook: Is there anything you are working on now? If not, do you plan on writing anything else, and if so, will your writing stay in this genre or dealing with genealogy?
Paul Fronczak: I’m hoping to be able to write a second book about my journey, which is not over yet. I discovered a lot about myself and that whole story is in the first book, but I still have to deal with all of these discoveries emotionally and psychologically, and I also have to try to solve two different 50-year-old mysteries. And I think that’s what the second book will be about.
Twogalsandabook: Do you read much? Were there any specific books that helped you in the search for you family? Are there any books that inspire you?
Paul Fronczak: To be honest, I’m not a very big reader but I do like true crime books. I definitely read some books in that genre before going to work on The Foundling. Mainly, though, I am a movie buff.
Twogalsandabook: What was the most difficult part of writing The Foundling? Were there any scenes, or anything else that you needed to delete or alter?
Paul Fronczak: I was lucky because I got to work with a professional writer who helped me organize and tell my story. But even so, the hardest parts of the book to work on were the sections about the parents who raised me, the Fronczaks. I knew that they didn’t want me to try and find the real Paul, so I knew that my search was hurting them in a way, and that the book probably would, too.
Twogalsandabook: Did you have to do much research for The Foundling?
Paul Fronczak: A ton of research. Because we were telling two different stories—the story of the Baby Fronczak kidnapping, which happened 50 years ago, and also the story of my abandonment and my life. So, two separate stories, and how they ended up converging. So there was a lot of historical detail we had to research, and then of course a ton of DNA research. The research was the fun and exciting part.
Twogalsandabook: Did you experience writer’s block? If so, how did you deal with it?
Paul Fronczak: Again, I was lucky because I worked with a really good writer, and together we were able to keep the train moving pretty well. And we had a pretty tight deadline to turn in the manuscript, so we really didn’t have time for writer’s block.
Twogalsandabook: When writing The Foundling, did you have a favorite writing atmosphere or ritual?
Paul Fronczak: Anywhere and everywhere. Because when I started my search five years ago I pretty much worked all the time, wherever I was. At work, in my car, watching TV with my family. I just sort of handled things as they came in. And that continued with the book. We were writing and researching it at the same time, so when stuff happened, we just went to work putting it in the book.
Twogalsandabook: Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers, or for other people who may have a story similar to yours?
Paul Fronczak: The first step is deciding that you really, really want to tell your story. Because no matter what your story is, there is always a cost for telling it. You can hurt people’s feelings, or learn things about yourself that aren’t all that great. So you really have to be determined to get your story out there and share it with the world. There has to be a really compelling reason for you to want to do it. And if there is, then buy a notebook and start writing everything down. Everything. All your feelings and thoughts and every detail of your story as best as you can remember it. Just get the material down on paper. Get started.
Twogalsandabook: Has a trailer been made for The Foundling?
Paul Fronczak: Yes, we did make one and as a matter of fact we’re going to be putting it on our website any day now. It’s www.foundlingpaul.com. The website is where people can stay up to date on my case and communicate with me and ask me questions about my case and their own cases, too.
Twogalsandabook: Did you have any resentment that your adopted parents didn’t tell you that it was possible that you weren’t their son? Do you feel your continued search for the real Paul has brought your family closer?
Paul Fronczak: I have nothing but positive, loving feelings for my parents. I don’t even think of them as not my real parents. They raised me and they loved me and I understand now that they were put in an impossible situation. They went through the worst nightmare any parent can ever go through, and then they were shown this little boy and asked if that was the infant that had been kidnapped from them. And then, if they had an doubts themselves, they had to raise that boy in the most normal way they possibly could. It was all just such a deeply emotional, traumatic experience for them, and I have nothing but love and admiration for them for how they handled it.
Twogalsandabook: Has the relationship(s) with your adopted or biological sibling(s) improved?
Paul Fronczak: My parents and I are in a very good place now, finally. I mean, I didn’t even speak to them for three whole years. But we’re all on the same page now and that is a real blessing. But the sad part is that my brother and I are still kind of estranged. He didn’t want me to go on my search either because he didn’t want our parents to get hurt. My relationship with my blood siblings is a whole other story, and I don’t want to spoil the book by talking about it too much here. But that is a very dramatic story all on its own.
Twogalsandabook: Do you feel fortunate, after learning about your biological family, that you were adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Fronczak?
Paul Fronczak: Yes. Very much so. I was very, very lucky. I mean, there were issues, obviously, with me and my parents, the Fronczaks. But after everything I learned about my real identity and my real background, I can definitely say that I feel lucky to have been raised by the Fronczaks.
Twogalsandabook: Towards the end of The Foundling, your adopted father developed some health issues. Is he still living?
Paul Fronczak: Yes, he’s doing alright. He was a machinist for most of his life and he’s a tough old guy. I love him a lot.
Twogalsandabook: Is your family supportive of you writing this book after all the media attention your story has received?
Paul Fronczak: They are supportive of me now. It took a long time, but we’re okay now. But the media attention is actually the reason they didn’t want me to do the search in the first place. The last thing they would ever want is media attention of any kind. Because when their son was kidnapped they had reporters camped outside their house, and it was just a nightmare for them, and the last thing they wanted to do was relive that nightmare 50 years later. So I am keeping them away from the media spotlight as much as I can.
Twogalsandabook: In the book, you mentioned how your wife thought that perhaps searching for your biological roots wouldn’t be the best idea because questions could still remain unanswered, and the search would never end. She wanted you to spend more time with her and your daughter, and there was also the possibility of injuring the relationship with your adopted parents. How do you feel about that now?
Paul Fronczak: That was a very complicated part of my story. Like I said, there is a cost to sharing your story with the world. All I want to say about that now is that I understand that my search was not easy for a lot of people, and I do feel bad about that. But the main thing is that our daughter is always going to feel very loved and very protected by us.
Twogalsandabook: Have you shared your story with your daughter, and if so, what is her reaction?
Paul Fronczak: I think she’s still too young for the whole story, but I do explain in the book how I finally shared with her that my parents weren’t my biological parents. She’s incredibly smart and she just took it in and processed it and then we moved on to something else. But I’m sure there will come a time when we talk about my story in more detail.
Twogalsandabook: Do you feel it is possible your twin Jill could still be alive?
Paul Fronczak: Yes, absolutely, I do.
Twogalsandabook: Is the search for Jill and/or the real Paul still ongoing? If so, has any progress been made?
Paul Fronczak: Yes, the search is still very much ongoing. I have an amazing private investigator who is helping me and he gives me a lot of hope that we’re going to be able to find some answers soon. But I am also realistic. I thought I’d be able to learn by real identity in a month or two, and it took me several years.
Twogalsandabook: Are you still searching for other family members? If so, what research are you doing and do you have assistance?
Paul Fronczak: Yes, I am always search for new family members I haven’t met yet. Right now it’s just a matter of talking to people and getting their stories and looking through old photos and seeing where that will lead.
Twogalsandabook: Have you developed unexpected relationships (not necessarily family) since the book has ended?
Paul Fronczak: Yes, there are a couple of people who played a role in my search who are not related to me who are very meaningful to me now. It was like going into a battle, and the people you meet along the way, the people who understand what you’re doing and help you with it, you develop a very special bond. The FBI agent who stayed with the Fronczaks for three weeks after the kidnapping way back in 1964, his name is Bernie Carey, and he’s retired and living in Florida now, and he’s an amazing guy and really sharp, and he’s helping me on the search for the real Paul.
Twogalsandabook: Have you stayed in contact with your genealogical team?
Paul Fronczak: Not as much as I would like to or should. They are the real heroes on my story and I can never, ever thank them enough for what they did for me.
Twogalsandabook: What role would you say social media has played in your search?
Paul Fronczak: A pretty big role. I got a lot of meaningful and important clues through Facebook. And now I’m trying to expand my presence on social media, because that is how people communicate now, and I need to reach as many people as I can because I’m still waiting for that one clue or lead or tip that will bring me closer to the truth.
Twogalsandabook: If The Foundling were made into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?
Paul Fronczak: That’s funny, because when I was younger I worked as a stand-in for George Clooney on one of the Ocean’s Eleven movies, and I always thought he would be perfect to play me. We’re the same age and he just seems like he could capture the emotional turmoil of the character. And I’d also love to see Gene Hackman play one of the relatives I found. He’s such a brilliant actor. And Get Shorty is one of my favorite movies.
Twogalsandabook: Who would you recommend to read The Foundling?
Paul Fronczak: Anyone who loves a really good story full of a lot of incredible twists. Anyone who likes true crime stories. Anyone who has an interest in DNA and genealogy and all of that stuff. I mean, a big part of this book is about the incredible DNA team that helped crack me case, and the specifics of the search and all the DNA work they did, like solving this enormous jigsaw puzzle. I mean, that stuff is fascinating. But mainly, my book is for anyone who ever thinks about family, and what it means to have a family, and the forces that shape us as human beings, and why we act the way we act, and what we can do about it. So there are a lot of really big, universal themes in this book.
Twogalsandabook: Is there anything you would like to add that we have not addressed?
Paul Fronczak: Just that I really appreciate your interest in my story, and the interest of your audience. Your blog is really awesome, and I am always thankful that people take an interest in my story, and sort of root for me, because that is very meaningful and important for me. So I just want to be able to thank everyone who has been supportive of my search.
Twogalsandabook: Are there any social media platforms or websites that readers could connect with you on?
Paul Fronczak: Yes, my website is www.foundlingpaul.com, and it will keep people updated about my search and also guide people in the right direction on their own searches.
Twogalsandabook.com would like to thank Paul Joseph Fronczak for doing this interview, and to his agent Alex Tresniowski for setting it up.
Enter to win 1 of 2 copies of The Foundling, generously given by our friends at http://www.foundlingpaul.com/. Entrants will be drawn at random on 4/12/2017. To enter giveaway, submit contact information on our contact page, and specify that you would like a copy of The Foundling. Good luck to all!
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