A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Myriam Martinez Reviews *Eros and Psyche*

Title: Stolen Hearts: The Love of Eros and Psyche
Author: Ryan Foley
Artists: Sankha Banerjee, Prince Varghese
Publisher: Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd.
Publication Date: 2010

This graphic novel depicts the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche as told to a young woman to teach her the lesson of how a conflict between a mother and daughter-in-law unfolds. The novel describes the clash between Eros’s mother and Psyche, which develops as a result of Aphrodite’s jealousy of Psyche’s beauty. Aphrodite sends Eros to set a trap for Psyche; however, love develops between the two. In response, Aphrodite condemns Psyche to forever be miserable, which in turn causes Eros to deprive the world of love. A compromise is made in which Psyche is isolated from the world in a castle, where a man visits her at night. Unknown to her, that man is Eros; however, she is not allowed to see his face as part of the compromise to avoid her knowing who he is.

Psyche is induced to break her promise by her sisters, who encourage her to see his face. As a result, Eros leaves her. Psyche begs for help from Aphrodite, who places four conditions on her assistance. Psyche manages to meet three of the conditions despite their apparent impossibility. She fails on the fourth condition, but Eros realizes her efforts, saves her, and asks the gods to immortalize her. His wish is granted and they are allowed to live happily ever after. Overall, the novel does a good job of introducing the storyline and setting up the reader for what follows, but fails in that a reader without prior knowledge of the Greek myth would have a hard time filling the gaps in the story.

This graphic novel posses various elements of young adult literature. Among the ones present are that the young person is free to take credit for her accomplishments. Psyche is responsible for resolving her mistakes and is given credit for doing so. The novel is also fast-paced. The novel is also basically optimistic in that Psyche learns and matures as the story progresses, and it has a happy result. The novel also deals with emotions that are important to young people such as love, learning from mistakes, and believing in yourself to succeed.

The graphic novel is missing several characteristics of young adult literature. The novel is narrated by an adult and therefore is not written from the point of view of a young adult. The novel does not include a variety of genres and subjects because it is constrained to Greek mythology. Also lacking is a diversity of ethnicities and cultures. Perhaps because of the timeframe of the original story, the story is removed from reality in that other cultures are not present in the story. Also, while it touches on emotions that might be of interest to young adults, it may be difficult for them to relate to gods and other unfamiliar situations.

I believe the text could be of interest to young adults, especially those with an interest in Greek mythology. The colored dialogue boxes are very useful in helping the reader follow the story and identify who is speaking. The novel also gives a face to the characters of Greek mythology, which are normally described in text only. While it does not fit perfectly into the definition of a young adult piece, it has enough of its elements to qualify as one. For those that are not familiar with the original Greek story, it may be a way to introduce them to a new medium. However, for those that dislike Greek mythology, this may not be a book of interest to them.

I would recommend this book to young adults for the reasons mentioned above. The novel has enough of the elements for a good young adult piece to draw their interest and provide for a good read. For those already very familiar with the original Greek story, I would caution them to remember that it is a slightly different version that does not remain completely true to the original. I would recommend it to young adults especially for its lessons of love and of determination.

No comments: