Summary: Cupid by Julius Lester is an expanded story of Cupid and Psyche. The library copy that I have is marked as Teen, but it works for adults as well. It’s not a re-telling in a modern high school; this is Cupid living with his mother, Venus, on Mount Olympus. There is a modern narrator who adds the contemporary element and a lot of humor. Cupid, a god of love, has never been in love until he sees the beautiful Psyche. Unfortunately, Venus is insanely jealous of Psyche’s beauty, so Cupid feels he must hide his love and lover away. He doesn’t even allow Psyche to see who he is. As what was hidden is brought into view, the relationships are strained and broken and it takes all the gods of Olympus to make things right again.
Thoughts: This book made me smile all the way through. The narrator was such a fun and engaging character that I really wanted to hear the story he had to tell. There is a lot of wisdom about life and love imparted in these pages, but never in a patronizing way. The narrator seems to be saying, “Don’t make the same mistakes that I did, kid, and, while we’re at it, let’s see if we can all avoid the mistakes that Cupid and Psyche and Venus made.”
The Works Consulted list, two pages, at the end would be a great starting point for continued exploration. If I had to write a paper about a myth, I might start with this book for an overview and then move on to the other resources to deepen my understanding.
Appeal: Since the narrator is male, this is a terrific book for boys when they are at an age to benefit from frank discussion about relationships. Tell them it’s about sex. There’s enough in there that you won’t be lying, but not so much that it will upset the parents of adolescents. Girls will get a lot from this book as well, since it covers some of the basic misunderstandings that happen between the genders.