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Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  782 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
An inspired retelling of the classic myth, from beloved storyteller Julius Lester.
ebook, 208 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Houghton Mifflin
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(showing 1-30)
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I think a lot of people will be familiar with this story. A mortal girl falls in love with a supernatural boy, relationship problems ensue, boy makes girl immortal too, and they live happily ever after. Familiar enough? Well, I'm not talking about the "Twilight" series, or any other teen paranormal romance novel, for that matter. I'm talking about the Greco-Roman myth of "Cupid and Psyche." I have been fascinated with this tale since I was 12 and it never grows old. There's love, mystery, betray ...more
Oct 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book thinks it's a hip and interesting retelling of Greek mythology, but it really only pays lip service to Cupid and Psyche still being relevant to teenagers today, without actually managing to *be* relevant. There were these little glimpses of what this could have been that kept me listening, but no. If I had anything else to listen to this week, I would have stopped.

If the narrator's voice had stayed throughout the entire book, rather than disappearing for sections at a time. If the nar
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mythology Lovers
Shelves: young-adult
This young adult novel tells the love story of Cupid and Psyche from a modern perspective--the story remains the same, but the narrator has a decidedly modern voice. It's cute and, all in all, just okay.
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 ...more
Sabrina Smith

This rendition of Cupid and Psyche is told by a humorous narrator. Cupid falls in love with a mortal so beautiful that people mistake her for Venus, goddess of love, who is very displeased. He tricks Psyche into marrying him and visits her at night, never allowing her to know his name or see his face. Eventually she sneaks a look and he returns to his furious mother, who sets forth challenges to destroy Psyche, but Psyche receives help. In the end, it is Cupid who learns abou
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's silly and a bit immature. It's meant for more like 11 and 12 year olds then teenagers. It is sappy and very passive in its writing. Not for me
Richie Partington
14 August 2006 CUPID by Julius Lester, Harcourt, January 2007, ISBN: 0-15-202056-X

"Every day around the time people's shadows snuck beneath their feet to get out of the sun, the tall wooden doors to the palace grounds swung open, and Psyche came out to take her daily walk. Men, women, children, and all the creatures stopped what they were doing to look at her. Birds flying by would see Psyche, stop flapping their wings, and fall to the ground. Ants would be toting crumbs which, to them, were as
Josephine  (reading in twilight)
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Van Nguyen
I have known the novel about Cupid in a beautiful Sunday when I went out with my close girl friend. I suddenly found this one which was hidden behind many other books on the bookcase. The title made me be curious when the God of Love had to study about Love, moreover, this was a famous story in Greek mythology stories. The lover of Cupid is Psyche, no one more and everyone knows it! And if we knew his love before reading this book, what could we realise with his rewrite story? I considered about ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for

Everybody knows who Cupid is, right? He's the chubby little guy in diapers, who shoots people with arrows and makes them fall in love. Or at least that's how we picture him. I assume he probably wore diapers at some point, but this isn't that story. If you've ever read or studied any mythology, you know that gods were believed to be a lot like people. They made mistakes, broke the rules, did stupid things, and weren't always nice. This IS that stor
Cupid, the god of love, has never been in love. Psyche, a mortal princess, is considered by her people to be the most beautiful woman that ever existed. Venus gets jealous of Psyche's beauty and orders Cupid to get rid of her. But Cupid falls in love with Psyche and decides to make her his wife behind Venus's back. Cupid takes Psyche to a hidden palace with all the riches in the world. Psyche should be the happiest woman on Earth. The problem is that Psyche has never seen her husband's face. She ...more
This is a YA book, and written in the style of an old Southern man telling a story. If you like Greek and Roman mythology, you'll love this book. And if you go into it knowing it's YA and written Storyteller style, then you'll probably enjoy it even more. The writer injects his own thoughts and interpretations into the story, and treats the story as an animated object trying to tell it's story through him. It's the tale of Cupid and Psyche, with lots of other Gods and Goddesses (including lots o ...more
Ashley Kempkes
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not really
Recommended to Ashley by: YsaBella and Josha
This book has a two out of five stars because of three major flaws. I think most of these may only be flaws to me, so don't think this book isn't any good, because I did enjoy reading it.

However, while I love a good Greek mythology retelling (especially one involving Eros and Psyche), this book mixes Roman and Greek, with emphasis on the Roman which, while similar in some ways to Greek, I do not enjoy reading.

Also, Cupid (the book) is a book that has a narrator, not one of the main characters,
May 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine beauty as a burden, and you understand how Psyche thinks beauty is a cruelty, especially when it earns you the enmity of Venus, who has angrily sent her son to thwart her competition. The novel also explains the origin of the anemone (Venus had fallen in love with Adonis, who died and whom she sprinkles nectar to turn him into a flower), the narcissus (Echo, a nymph falls in love with the most beautiful mortal boy, who in turn becomes so enamored by his image in a pond that he turns into ...more
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Over 10 years ago I read She: Understanding Feminine Psychology. I chanced upon it at an opportune time...I had fallen in love, and that book became my operations manual.

The story of Eros and Psyche is timeless for its archetypal truths. Julius Lester tells it in the way of a traditional black storyteller. In some ways this pulls us in closer to the story, in some ways it distracts. I would have liked to see more of his narrator's hints of how Cupid had touched his own life. The intrusion of th
Ara Santiago
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked most about Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire was the feeling of wanting to know what happens next even though the entirety of the story is predictable. Lester made sure that the narration of this modernized story is interesting, relatable, and funny. I found myself giggling at the narration one too many times while I was reading the book because it felt like the story-teller and I were best of friends who can read each others’ minds. In between the things that were happening, the sto ...more
Steph Su
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The likable storyteller, with his countless side stories and wise commentary, delivers to readers the delightful Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. Psyche is the most beautiful mortal girl alive, and people often liken her to Venus, Goddess of Love. Some even claim that the mortal girl is more beautiful than the goddess herself!
Vain Venus obviously doesn’t like the attention Psyche is getting. She orders her son, Cupid, to make Psyche fall in love with something really stupid, like a boulder, so th
Genre: Greek mythology/Fantasy

This is a pretty straight-forward retelling of the story of Cupid and Psyche. It has a number of interesting and little-known gods, such as Oizys, the goddess of pain, and Favonious, the West Wind. Psyche is an especially likeable heroine – due to her immense beauty she’s actually a rather lonely and introspective person. Her kindness is just as striking as her beauty, whereas her sisters are shockingly jealous and self-centered. Even those familiar with the story m
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as an audio book and like most books that I listen to, I'm left wondering how I would have felt about it if I had read it.

The audio was done by Stephen McKinley Henderson, a pretty talented guy. However, as usual my mind wanders and I miss bits. I never can fully immerse myself in audio and so I never think about it as deeply as books that I read.

That said, I did find this somewhat modernized retelling of the story of Cupid and Psyche pretty entertaining. I enjoyed the fact
Destinee Sutton
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Destinee by: ALA
Shelves: teen, romance, audio
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
Lacey Librarian
I've put off writing this review because I'm having a little trouble coming up with something intelligent to say about this book that I ended up feeling pretty ambivalent about. The thing I liked best about it was the narrative voice, and the narrator's humorous (but sometimes still profound) observations about life, mythology, love, and marriage. At the same time, this style kept the story at arm's length, so that I never felt truly connected to the characters, and I didn't really like any of t ...more
Krystl Louwagie
This is a retelling of Cupid and Psyche, and I was pretty excited to read it. It disappointed me, which seems to be happening a lot lately in things I'm reading.
I thought the storyteller went on too many un-interesting and cliche tangents, I got sick of his female/male stereotypes, and he was too descriptive in all the wrong parts. I found myself not caring much about any of the characters because I felt like I didn't know them very well and they were all token characters. Which is OK when writ
Lacey Louwagie
I've put off writing this review because I'm having a little trouble coming up with something intelligent to say about this book that I ended up feeling pretty ambivalent about. The thing I liked best about it was the narrative voice, and the narrator's humorous (but sometimes still profound) observations about life, mythology, love, and marriage. At the same time, this style kept the story at arm's length, so that I never felt truly connected to the characters, and I didn't really like any of t ...more
Jun 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like myths
This is an excellent book. I'd love to give it 3.5 stars if that were an option, and VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) gave it a 5 quality and 5 popularity rating so you know it's one of the good ones: most books VOYA reviews do not get a perfect 10 rating. I can't say that I loved it though, because I like my stories longer and Lester originally set out to write a 75 page book and even though it ended up near 200, I still wanted more. It's an excellent retelling of the story of Cupid and Psyche t ...more
I was hooked with the first page and was very excited when I packed it in my bag for vacay. Alas (deep sigh)...I thought that I would love this book, but unfortunately it got on my nerves the majority of the time. I really want to give it 2.75 stars, but since that's not an option...

What I loved about it was the narrative style and the author's use of metaphor, simile, and personification. The narrator often 'breaks through the fourth wall'. If I were an English teacher I'd be ALL OVER this boo
This is a straight-up retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, sprinkled with some wit and wisdom. A few times I even laughed aloud. I particularly liked all the asides where the story itself is personified.
Because of the style the story is written in, I actually think it is better listened to while being read aloud. I had it unabridged on CD and I really think that's the proper format for getting the fullest enjoyment from this story. It is in a very spoken-language style that reminds me of a
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
An anonymous narrator tells the story of Cupid and Psyche and throws in his own commentary on the story. Pysche is a beautiful mortal--so beautiful that people stop worshiping the beautiful goddess Venus. Venus is jealous and orders her mischievous and somewhat cruel son Cupid to make Pysche's life miserable. That sounds like fun to Cupid--until he sees Pysche and falls in love with her and even arranges a marriage to her. He has to keep his feelings for her a secret from his mother and his iden ...more
A narrative 'folktale' telling of the classic myth. Maybe it was just the audio version, but the story, as told by Lester, could have come as a legend from the deep south.

Summary: Award-winning author Julius Lester brings his renowned storytelling skills to one of the most famous tales in classical mythology and weaves together a romantic, hilarious drama. Cupid is the god of love and a tireless maker of mischief. When he breaks out his bow and quiver, nobody's safe. Sleepless nights, embarrassi
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I was born on January 27, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1941-1954 I lived in Kansas City, Kansas, and from 1954-1961 in Nashville, Tennesse. I received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960.

In 1961 I moved to New York City where I had a talk radio show on WBAI FM from 1966-1973, hosted a television talk show on WNET from 1969-1971.

Since 1968 I have published 43 books. Among the awards
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“If I canot know your name, may I light a lamp so I can see your face?'
If you sould ever see my face, you will lose me forever.'
Why?' Psyche wanted to know. 'Are you ugly? Are you afraid I won't love you if I see your face?'
Perhaps I am afraid that if you see my face, it will be THAT that you will love and not me.'
I understand, believe me. I know what that feels like.”
“Love happened. Love came to show you that you could be more than you could ever imagine, because love forced you out of the narrows of yourself and thrust you into a vastness that stretched from one end of time to the other. Nothing mattered except being in the presence of love, the greatest beauty of all.” 2 likes
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