2 Sentence Summary
Lynn Painter’s “Mr. Wrong Number”, follows Olivia and Colin as they unknowingly connect through a series of spicy wrong number texts. Little do they know that their anonymous relationship brings them closer together, and when they discover the truth, they face a choice that could change everything. This story is filled with family dynamics, friendship, love, and the excitement of unexpected connections.
Summary Read Time: Less than 7 minutes
Actual Book Length: 350
First Published in: 2022
Below is the detailed yet quick Mr. Wrong Number book summary:
The story starts with our protagonist, Olivia, who finds herself in a life crisis. After accidentally burning down her apartment building in Chicago, she moves in with her brother, Jack, in Omaha. Her life is in shambles, and she’s trying to drown her sorrows in beer and Adele songs.
Amidst her meltdown, she receives a text from an unknown number asking her what she’s wearing. Deciding to play along, she responds with a humorous comment about wearing his mother’s wedding dress and thong. The stranger, taken aback, realizes he texted the wrong number. They share a few more texts, bringing a moment of levity to Olivia’s otherwise dismal night.
The next morning, Olivia wakes up hungover and has a frustrating conversation with her mother, who’s concerned about her job hunting and financial situation. Olivia assures her mother that she’s on top of things, despite her current lack of pants.
As Olivia stumbles into the kitchen, she encounters Colin Beck, her brother’s best friend and now roommate. Colin, who she hasn’t seen since her freshman year of college, is amused by her disheveled state. Olivia, embarrassed but defiant, tries to maintain her dignity in her Cookie Monster pajama top and neon-yellow boy shorts.
Colin, always the know-it-all, teases Olivia about her recent misadventures, including the apartment fire. Olivia, feeling judged and misunderstood, defends herself. She’s not an idiot, she insists. The fire was an accident, caused by a possum knocking over a pail she was using to burn her cheating ex-boyfriend’s love letters.
Olivia spends the day applying for jobs she’s underqualified for and dealing with a printer mishap that ruins a white rug. She visits her parents, who feed her lasagna and lecture her about adult responsibilities. She leaves with heartburn, leftovers, and a decade-old T-shirt.
Back at Jack’s building, Olivia retreats to the rooftop patio to avoid facing her brother and Colin. She takes a moment to breathe, reflecting on the whirlwind of events that brought her here.
Her solitude is interrupted by a text from the same unknown number from the previous night. The stranger is back with his “What are you wearing?” text. Olivia, amused by his persistence, decides to play along again.
Olivia is on a brunch date with a man named Paul, but she’s not entirely invested in the date. Instead, she’s texting Mr. Wrong Number, who turns out to be Colin, throughout the date. Paul is nice, but Olivia finds him similar to her brother, which doesn’t bode well for romantic prospects.
Paul’s views on the #MeToo movement and his patronage of restaurants like Hooters and Twin Peaks, where women are objectified, lead to a heated argument between him and Olivia. This results in Olivia calling him pathetic and ending the date abruptly.
Meanwhile, Colin is trying to write a letter to land a big client but is struggling with it. Olivia, who happens to be a writer for the Times, offers to help him. She rewrites his letter, adding a personal touch to it, which impresses Colin.
Olivia’s secret job as an anonymous parenting columnist for the Times is revealed. She doesn’t have kids, but her previous experience writing content for a parent-ish gossip site landed her the job. She’s excited about her first column being published, even though she’s aware that her lie might blow up in her face at some point.
Despite their constant bickering, Olivia and Colin share a comfortable camaraderie. They help each other out and share their successes and failures. However, Colin decides to ghost Olivia after realizing he interrupted her date. Olivia, on the other hand, is too excited about her new column to notice his silence.
Mr. Wrong Number aka Colin is also conflicted about his feelings for her. He tries to maintain a distance from her because Olivia is his best friend’s sister which makes him ghost her by his Mr Wrong Number identity.
The conversation between Olivia and Mr. Wrong Number, who is actually Colin, restarts after Colin decides to ghost her in a rather unexpected way. Olivia is going through a rough patch in her life, and she sends a text to Mr. Wrong Number, proposing that they meet in person at a coffee shop. Colin sees the text and is taken aback, but he doesn’t respond.
Later, Olivia is having a conversation with her friend Sara about her recent troubles, including losing her job and being stood up by Mr. Wrong Number. During this conversation, she receives a text from an unknown number. The text reads, “How’s the new apartment, loser?” Olivia doesn’t recognize the number and asks who it is. This marks the restart of their conversation.
Olivia is excited and nervous about finally meeting Mr. Wrong Number, a man she’s been texting with for a while. She’s dolled up for their meeting, but she’s also apprehensive because he’s ghosted her multiple times before.
Olivia meets Mr. Wrong Number, who calls himself Nick Devry. He’s handsome and nice, but Olivia doesn’t feel the connection she expected. They share an awkward hug and sit down for a chat. Olivia finds out that Nick works in finance and lives in the suburbs .
After their meeting, Olivia texts her friend Sara about the date. She admits that while Nick is nice, there’s no love connection. She also finds out that Nick lives in the suburbs and has a playful side, as he does a moonwalk in the middle of the coffeehouse .
Olivia and Nick share a kiss, but it’s not what Olivia expected. She feels no spark and is disappointed. Nick, however, seems to enjoy the kiss and texts Colin about it. Colin is upset to learn that they kissed. He exchanges texts with both of them, expressing his displeasure to Nick and trying to understand Olivia’s feelings about the kiss.
However, her secret is revealed when a woman named Andrea Swirtz, who went to high school with Olivia, overhears her talking about the column and feels compelled to inform Olivia’s boss, Glenda. Glenda confronts Olivia about her dishonesty, which leads to Olivia’s termination from the Times.
Olivia initially suspects that Colin might have revealed her secret which leads to a heated up discussion between the two.
Later Olivia runs into Glenda again and apologizes for lying to her in the past. Glenda reveals that it was another person, Andrea Swirtz, who exposed Olivia’s lie, not Colin as Olivia had previously thought. Olivia feels guilty for treating Colin poorly and sends him several apologetic texts. She apologizes to Colin for accusing him of revealing her secret about writing the advice column.
Olivia apologizes to Colin for accusing him of revealing her secret about writing the advice column. She realizes that it was actually a former intern, Andrea Swirtz, who exposed her. She feels guilty for treating Colin poorly and sends him several apologetic texts.
Part 5 – How Does “Mr. Wrong Number” Book End?
While at Colin’s place and she notices that every time she sends a text to Mr. Wrong Number, Colin’s phone lights up with a notification. She tests this by sending a text saying “Um.” and sees the same message pop up on Colin’s phone. This is how she discovers that Colin is Mr. Wrong Number.
Colin, caught off guard, tries to explain that he is indeed her wrong number. He tells her that he asked his friend Nick to meet her at the coffee shop as a favor. Olivia is understandably upset and demands an explanation.
This revelation leads to a lot of tension and confusion between Olivia and Colin. Olivia feels betrayed and manipulated, as she had shared a lot of personal things with Mr. Wrong Number, things she would never have shared with Colin. She feels that their seemingly perfect moments were tainted by his manipulation.
Despite this rocky revelation, they eventually confess their love for each other. Olivia tells Colin, “I love you, Mr. Wrong Number,” to which Colin responds, “I love you, too, Miss Misdial”.