Parents need to know that The Color Purple is a moving, inspirational novel told in letters that includes an abundance of mature content — explicit sex, rape, incest, sexism and violence toward women, and a lesbian relationship. The book vividly portrays the harsh life of rural, poor African Americans — especially women — in the pre-civil rights South, and has been criticized for its negative depiction of African-American men. It ranked No. 17 on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 2000-2009 due to its sex, violence, and strong language. The novel was adapted for Steven Spielberg’s successful 1985 film version and a 2005 Broadway musical.