Book Review James Bekenawei reviews Longrin Wetten's "Lie to me, Dan"

"Lie to me, Dan" is a book that captures the activities in a typical Nigerian university and transforms it into a romance story with great morals to learn from.

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Book cover of Lie to me, Dan play

Book cover of Lie to me, Dan

(Joyce Imiegha)
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How do you write a book review without providing spoilers?

You start with the first line that captioned your attention. And being a sucker for simplicity, this line:

Thanks,” said the man with the gun, “for helping us bury you.” from Longrin Wetten’s "Lie to me, Dan" made me stop reading, stare at the wall, and then try to see the reflection of the writer’s brilliance on it. Simple words are a turn on for me, I get mental orgasms when I meet them flung carelessly on a book.

Book cover of Lie to me, Dan play

Book cover of Lie to me, Dan

(Joyce Imiegha)


"Lie to me, Dan" is a book of several characters. But they all revolved around Marylyn Zhasa an undergraduate Psychology student of the Saro-Wiwa University Port Harcourt.

Marylyn was the model student and daughter focused on building a career, and making her father proud until D-man happened.

ALSO READ: A conversation with Longrin Wetten, author of "Lie To Me Dan"

Marylyn and D-man’s path crossed outside Dr Lanikonte’s — a typical Nigerian lecturer who skipped classes at will and rushed through the ones he managed to attend like he was in a debating contest —class, and while D-man concluded he had met his soulmate, Marylyn thought otherwise.

Amongst the numerous themes in the book, the need for consent was something I found appealing especially in view of the Big Brother Nigeria (BBN) recent debacle between BBN housemates Kemen and Tboss. Consent before any romantic relationship and sexual act is important. And I liked that the author treated it as such. Even though there was a scene where D-man overstepped his boundaries by kissing Marylyn which resulted in slaps licking his face, but in his endless pursuit, he respected her limits.

That is commendable, and it is important literature while entertaining, enlightens also.

An excerpt from Lie to me, Dan by Longrin Wetten play

An excerpt from Lie to me, Dan by Longrin Wetten

(Joyce Imiegha)


Like all good books, "Lie to me, Dan" has its own fair share of poor lines. But where the writer failed in his expression, he made up for it with his plot. Although I was sucked in by a simple line few pages into the book, I cringed several times because the author was revealing too many details. I enjoy things hidden in plain sight and love to do the heavy lifting myself while some other readers prefer to be spoon fed.

Finding this balance was a challenge for Longrin. In trying to reveal backstories, he let out information that would have been better for the reader to figure out. Longrin rarely deviated from his story, and when he took detours where he should have driven straight ahead, it was for a purpose. And most times these detours were essential to pick up back stories stuck on un-motorable roads.

One of the refreshing things about Longrin’s book is how he sprinkled details of the Niger Delta on it.

Provincialism is a current running debate in the literary world and I liked that Longrin created a fictional University Campus in Port Harcourt that was real, and most of the characters were relatable howbeit quite stereotypical.

Chris Tucker once said, "We do not really meet people when we meet them for the first time. We only meet their representatives." This is another theme Longrin re-emphasized several times. PS: Don’t be too quick to judge any character, hold back on that lasting first impression a little longer.

Front cover of Lie to me, Dan play

Front cover of Lie to me, Dan



The best and worst of Longrin’s style is shown in this excerpt below:

“Guess what?” said Marylyn, “Daddy got me a car!”

“Are you kidding me?” Esse said and started gathering her books. “Where is it?”

“It’s outside,” said Marylyn.

“Ify!” Esse called out to her tall and lanky friend who was reading on another desk at the far end of the lecture hall. “Come and see my new car!” She said and bolted out of the classroom and Ify ran after her.

Marylyn and Titi exchanged glances and hurriedly walked out.

Esse guessed the identity of the car without being told, she was already inspecting it like it was meant for her. “Give me the keys!” she demanded as Marylyn approached. Marylyn handed her keys, and Esse quickly opened the door and sat in the driver’s seat. Ify joined her on the front passenger’s seat. Esse

started the engine.

“Enter now,” she said with a sense of urgency and Marylyn and Titi exchanged glances again.

The excerpt is one of my favourite from the book. Longrin showed his humour, and also his knack for dining on adverbs and some extra words, all in one swoop. But still it achieved its purpose.

"Lie to me, Dan" is not an everyday book, but Longrin succeeded in telling his story and I applaud him for that while waiting for his next novel and expecting it to be better.

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