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Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire (2007)

by Julius Lester

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16419166,074 (3.44)4
Cupid, the spoiled and mischievous god of love, is attracted to and marries the beautiful mortal, Psyche, and both learn many lessons about the nature of love.
  1. 00
    The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (FFortuna)
  2. 00
    Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C. S. Lewis (raizel)
    raizel: A retelling of the Psyche and Cupid myth; Lester's version is for a younger (teen

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» See also 4 mentions

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I'm not a big fan of audio books in general, which is weird because I love listening to stories on the radio. I suppose the difference is that when it comes to books, the experience isn't improved by bringing a third party interpreter into the picture.

Still, this was a good audio book. Great overall voice quality (rich, soothing, etc.), decent characterization (except that he gave all the females a kind of whine that sort of rubbed me the wrong way), and the book lent itself well to being told aloud (it wasn't too complicated or anything).

The book itself was okay, too. Not the most enthralling thing ever, but good for people who are interested in love, beauty, and myths. I liked how Lester made "the story" itself a kind of character in the book, too.

Just one more ridiculous thing: I have a strong preference for Greek god names over Roman ones, so that bothered me a little, too. I don't know where I picked this prejudice up, but I was surprised by the depth of my feelings on the subject. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Standard 2: Exploring and Responding to Literature
Overarching Idea: Students read and respond to classical and contemporary texts from many cultures and literary periods.
Guiding Question: How does literature enrich our lives?
Component Statements:
2.1 Students recognize how literary devices and conventions engage the reader.
2.2 Students explore multiple responses to literature.
2.3 Students recognize and appreciate that contemporary and classical literature has shaped human thought.
2.4 Students recognize that readers and authors are influenced by individual, social, cultural and historical contexts. ( )
  AnikaWalker | Dec 6, 2011 |
I loved the story telling of this book. The story was a good one. I did feel like the ending was a little abrupt. I did feel like Venus was a little over-the-top, but in a good way. I did feel like sometimes when the story got off track and would describe other things it was a little annoying, but for the most part it was funny. ( )
  millett23 | Dec 31, 2010 |
I can hear Julius Lester's voice in this retelling of the Cupid and Psyche story. He spends a lot of time talking about how one tells a story and his personal experiences about love; a good thing, in my opinion. Sharing his failures and successes in romance is helpful for teens experiencing their first loves, apparently his target audience. There are jealous sisters who want Psyche to suffer, tasks that Psyche must perform to win back her true love, temptation (to see what Cupid looks like) that Psyche cannot resist. So, references to Pandora's Box and eating the apple in the Garden of Eden, and the sisters of Cinderella and Beauty in "Beauty and the Beast." And, finally, a serious, adult list of sources (books, articles and Internet) after the story. ( )
  raizel | Nov 22, 2010 |
I loved every second of this book. I have always loved the myth of Cupid & Psyche, and I loved the narrator's flair for story-telling. He had a very understated poetic method of telling the story, that seemed like an old-fashioned trick to keep the listener enthralled. It was very effective and entertaining. I loved the way other myths were blended into Cupid and Psyche's story to explain the other gods. Both well-known myths as well as lesser-known gods were mentioned and given life in this story. Even the sun and moon and all four winds were given parts and personalities.

If I were to make one complaint is that the title of the book is CUPID, and not CUPID AND PSYCHE. It's her story as much as his. Minor quibble, but I did feel like an injustice was done (however small it may be!)

As the story progressed I noticed some parallels between elements of this story to some well-known (and more recent - compared to this ancient myth) fairy tales, which I thought was interesting. The goddess Venus's jealousy of Psyche's beauty parallels Snow White and the queen. Psyche being taken away and cut off from civilization is similar to Rapunzel's isolation. Psyche's two evil older sisters remind me of Cinderella's step-sisters. Psyche being beautiful and told that Cupid is a hideous monster (and the two of them falling in love anyway) has seeds of Beauty & the Beast. Psyche's sisters persuading her to stab her husband with a knife are reminiscent of The Little Mermaid's sisters convincing her to do the same with the prince she's in love with. Venus demanding that Psyche sort grains before the sun goes down is similar to the princess that was given the impossible task of spinning straw into gold like in Rumplestiltskin.

Cupid and Psyche have the quintessential fairy tale, and I love it. Specific to this particular retelling, I loved the narrator's quirky personal anecdotes. Which, in my opinion, gave the story more flair and depth and made this an extremely enjoyable experience. ( )
1 vote pocketmermaid | Jul 17, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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For Milan, / who daily shows me the beauty of love
First words
A long time ago, when Time was still winding its watch and Sun was trying to figure out which way was east and which was west, there was a king and queen.
Sometimes, stories don't understand; what may not be important to them is very important to us. (p. 1, end of first paragraph)
But because I am a storyteller, I know that all knowledge cannot be put into words. (p. 31)
From him [Eros aka Cupid], light had first emanated; it was he who had set the universe in motion and created the sun, moon, sky, and earth. Such was the power of love that it banished primeval chaos. The water, beasts, wind, trees, and birds remembered Eros and how he chose to enter the affairs of humans in guise of Cupid, son of Venus, and they would never harm the one he had chosen as his beloved [Psyche]. (p. 119-120)
Sometimes stories don't know the best way to tell themselves. That's especially true of some of the very old stories like this one. It has gotten used to being told one way, and I'm having a hard time getting the story to understand that people listen to stories differently than they did back in the year one hundred. People today are surrounded by stories. There are radio and television stations that do nothing but broadcast new, and what is news except stories? (p. 154-155)
Even a story doesn't know how it is going to turn out because who knows what a storyteller will say once he or she gets going good. (p. 166-167)
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Cupid, the spoiled and mischievous god of love, is attracted to and marries the beautiful mortal, Psyche, and both learn many lessons about the nature of love.

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