- Wini Ashooh
Just in time for Valentine's Day, here is Cupid, by Julius Lester. In this retelling from Greek mythology, we are introduced to Psyche. She is the daughter of a king and so beautiful that every time she walks outside people stopped and stared. They even stopped working. In fact, it was getting so bad that it was affecting the infrastructure of her community--and not in a good way. Her father, the king, felt it was in the best interest of his kingdom and his subjects to restrict Psyche from her daily walks. He decreed that she could only walk outside the castle gates once a month.
Word quickly reached Mount Olympus about the young beauty and the effect she was having on the other humans. Venus, the goddess of love, was not pleased at all when she learned of this young woman, She viewed her as a threat and decided to dispatch her son, Cupid, to do away with her. Never one to disappont his mother, Cupid quickly plans how he will get rid of this pesky human. However, when Cupid lays his eyes on Psyche, he is immediately stunned by her beauty, and he falls in love with her himself. He vows that she will become his wife, but he is reluctant to let his mother in on his little plan as she is a formidable force with which to be reckoned.
In this version, Lester combines humor and literary skill to give us a story with drama and laughter. He weaves a tale not unfamiliar to us and gives it a freshness and zest. I found myself quickly pulled along while reading the story of Cupid and Psyche. I was anxious to move on to the next chapter to see how this relationship would resolve itself, if at all. This story is written in a comfortable voice that often finds itself speaking to us in the vernacular of the present day. It is an intriguing mix of stories from the ancient Greek mythology written in contemporary language. Throw in the rest of the crew from Mount Olympus and some evil sisters for Psyche, and you have the makings of an engaging tale of love, betrayal, and deception.