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Publisher's Summary

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 50-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 50 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.

©2017 Paul Joseph Fronczak and Alex Tresniowski (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Dragged out. Overly dramatic style.

The events in this book were fascinating and horrifying, however I felt like I could have read a 10 min article and got everything I needed about the story. Personally I didn't like the authors style and felt like he was trying to hype up every little detail, as if it was an episode of dramatic TV. Which would have been more enjoyable. If you're interested in this story I recommend you spend 15 mins googling the events and save yourself hours of listening.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Prepare yourself for a journey that will take you to shocking places!

Warning: You won't get past chapter 1 without being hooked and pulled into this man's unexpected journey. Just know ahead of time that once you start listening, the next 11 hours of your life will be spent with Kirby Heyborne in your ear (narrating this so masterfully) because you will not be able to stop listening.

If you love a good mystery, if you love journalistic writing, if you love true crime, if you love genealogy or history, if you love twists and turns and if you love saying "what the f*ck" out loud in disbelief/horror, you will love this book.

It's an unbelievable story from start to finish. Paul's continual honesty about his shortcomings and fragility and the brutally raw truth about dark questions surrounding his genetics ground this book. I have yet to rate a book on Audible and I've been an avid listener for 2 years. I have never felt *this* compelled to rate/review a book.

Giving credit where credit is due! Paul, Alex and Kirby hit this one out of the park!




20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Decent story, author too self-involved

My headline sums it up. I found his families fascinating and his search fairly interesting, but the author was clearly focused on "me, me, me," He mentions a few times that his wife says she doesn't know him and that he's too involved in his search, but it's obvious he is only paying her lip service when he mostly agrees with her in the book. His actions show he cares only about himself and he talks about that as well, but justifies it in an unsatisfying way. All that being said, it is a decent, quick listen and is worth the credit, I just didn't care for Paul Fronczak very much.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 04-16-17

Dream Teams Chasing A Nightmare

I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to live the life of Paul Joseph Fronczak. From feeling like "The Other" in a family he discovered not to be his own, to finding the nightmare of his real family roots, this is a story of deep and dark secrets, of choices made in unthinkable circumstances. It's a story of people who devoted themselves to his cause, veritable Dream Teams in genealogy, crackers of code, people hunters extraordinaire.
It's a fairly non-stop listen, and Fronczak is a driven man whose story is sure to haunt and inspire. My only problem is that he, in his search/obsession, starts abandoning his own family, leaving his daughter to feel perhaps as unattached as he once felt.
His findings shed light on his ability to distance and detach without emotion, but one has to ask: How much is heredity, how much is environment, and how much is personal choice? Still, it's a darkly compelling story, still unraveling, still evolving.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful

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You just can't stop listening!

Not only is this story captivating, but it is well written and narrated. Your mind won't wonder off even for a minute.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 04-20-17

I Was Totally Engulfed By This True Story

Some of my most intense interests are genealogy, the search for one's ancestors, and the after effects of the adoption process and its varying effects on people. This book seemed right up my alley and once I learned of it, I grabbed it and started listening immediately.

The author has an unusual and totally unique story to tell. He was kidnapped from a hospital as a newborn, then later abandoned in front of a store, and subsequently returned to his parents. Or is this what really happened? He certainly never felt he fit in to his family. In middle age, he could no longer stand to wonder about who he was, why he behaved as he did, and did he really belong to these parents?

Paul Fronczak subsequently embarked on a long journey to find out the truths he had pondered much of his life. It was a three year journey that all but consumed him. It put his relationship with his parents and his marriage in jeopardy, in addition to his relationship with his beloved young daughter.

Join him in his book, feel the ups and downs, the sheer horror and excitement at what he learned, things he never dreamed of or even speculated on. From my own personal experience, once you open yourself up to learning your family's deep dark buried secrets, it is a trip from which you cannot turn back. It can be filled with incredibly amazing breakthroughs but also with disbelief and utter disappointment or even horror at the behaviors of those very ancestors you are so keen to learn about. Whether it is good or bad news, it is always eye-opening and can be very exciting.

Kirby Heyborne gave a great narration. He 'became' the author. He was wonderful.

I felt swallowed up by Paul Fronczak's story, his almost fanatical search for the truth of his existence, his tenacity, and his reactions to what he learned. I finished the book in two days. It is still playing in my mind in such a way that I am not ready to even contemplate my next read yet.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Self-indulgent

A self-indulgent telling of no entertainment or educational value to others. This book is dull and egocentric.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Too much attention to stuff that didn't matter.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Foundling?

I found the entire middle of this book completely mind-numbing. Perhaps if you are someone who is going through a similar search on a geneology site, this information might be useful. But, I am not one of those people.

The story of the author's kidnapping was interesting, and once he finally gets some answers about his past the story moves swiftly.

Any additional comments?

I realize that I will never hava any idea what this man went through when finding out that the parents who raised him were not part of his natural-born family. However, I also felt like he has now rewritten his entire history through the lens of this experience. All families have disagreements, all family members have moments when they think, "Oh my god, I cannot be related to these people." His total disregard for what his adoptive parents, brother, wife and child were going through while he was on this journey, as well as his whiny, petulant attitude sorely taxed my resolve to finish this book and find out what really happened.

I am glad that I finished the book, and I hope that the author has finally agreed to counseling. I think it would help him alot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Intellectually stimulating; a fascinating story!

One of the best books I've ever read. Captivating from the start, and you can't imagine the journey of twists and turns that the story will take. This book proves what they say: Truth is better than fiction. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must read

great book so riveting I couldn't stop listening a must read very powerful and well written

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • MarionC
  • 05-11-17

a lost family

as a family historian, i realise the difficulties and frustrations of brick walls. the researchers involved did a fabulous job. at times the story was a little long winded but kept me listening

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  • V. Stacey
  • 09-23-17

Amazing Determination despite All.

Some People like Paul/Simon/Jack have exhaustive stories.
A message for Paul/Simon/Jack 'you are a being with many names. You are all identities all rolled into one. A truly amazing soul who faced every truth. Be Free now believing this.'

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  • Marie Boyd
  • 09-04-17

So worth hearing! So well-read, all absorbing...

This would be my favourite Audible book, so far. The narrator's voice is so easy to listen to. This true life story is well-told, honest and it draws you in; you care so much about the people involved. You empathise with them. I so wanted to know what happened to Paul. I'd highly recommend this book to you. It's left me humble and touched my soul. 🕊

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  • Marian
  • 06-03-17

Family secrets - an intriguing tale with twists and turns

All families have their secrets. This is a very moving book which I enjoyed thoroughly. We will never truly understand what may have motivated Paul's parents to abandon him.
Like it or not as humans we have a drive to find our biological parents which can sometimes be painful, sometimes a happy event. With the help of some dna detectives and great genealogy site Paul takes us on his adventure and shares his ups and downs as he discovers more about his identity. I highly recomend this story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-19-17

Basically a genealogy

This story if fine, it was entertaining enough to want to know what would happen and i finished it which indicates it was not boring. It is essentially a description of a complex genealogy, not my thing but if it was this book would be great. performed well. couldn't help finding the author selfish and searching for something outside himself that can only be found inside himself but this made it no less compelling.

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  • Elizabeth Young
  • 05-01-17

Great story

Really interesting story, however I wasn't a fan of the narration. It's strange listening to an autobiography not read by the author, with the narrator putting on voices and having different emotional intimations in his voice when the story is not his. The emotion is not his, so I found it awkward to listen to at times which detracted from the story. It also wasn't very well done so detracted even further. I should have just read it rather than listened.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful