Coddie is homely, if not all together ugly. She is continually teased, put down, and even ostracized by the people of her small village. But things change quickly for Coddie when she accidentally saves the fairy, Mab, who grants her one wish: to be beautiful. Unfortunately, Mab may not be as benevolent a fairy as she claims to be, and Coddie learns quickly that beauty can actually be a hardship.
Beauty is originally a French graphic novel written by Hubert and beautifully illustrated by Kerascoet. I was especially taken with the art in Beauty; it reminded me of vintage cartoons, like Mickey Mouse, Popeye, and Betty Boop. The lines are soft and fluid and the coloring is beautifully muted. The artwork coexists brilliantly with the plot which initially has the feel of a children’s story, but quickly morphs into a much more mature tale as Coddie finds herself assaulted by men “overcome” by her beauty.
There is more than a hint of truth in the treatment Coddie endures both as an ugly outcast and as a ravishing beauty. However, Hubert finds a way to give this tale a silver lining, and even a happy ending, as Coddie discovers her own inner strength and learns that beauty isn’t the only thing that makes a woman worthwhile.