Parents' Guide to

The Color Purple

By Kenneth Butler, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Edgy tale of poor, abused woman's journey to independence.

The Color Purple Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

This title has:

Too much sex
age 12+

Possibly the Best Descision I've Ever Made

I had no idea what I was in for that fateful day when I picked this book off of the shelf. It's a classic in every sense of the word, and ahead of its time. I think that every aspect of this is amazingly and accurately written and it is perfect. I highly recommend this. The content may be challenging, as it's a dense book with lots of meaning to it. In fact, it took me two reads to fully comprehend its meaning and even still with each read I gain something new.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (8 ):

THE COLOR PURPLE gives a vivid, wrenching portrayal of the harsh circumstances and limited opportunities of poor, uneducated African American women in the South before the civil rights movement. It also chronicles a woman's inspiring journey from abuse to independence and self-actualization. The novel was a bestseller when it came out in 1982, has continued to sell well ever since, and is sometimes assigned in high school, although it has been the consistent target of censors due to its mature content, including sex, violence, and strong language. Steven Spielberg's 1985 film version was popular with critics and audiences alike, earning 11 Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. And a 2005 Broadway musical versions earned 11 Tony Award nominations in 2006.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate