The Color Purple has been controversial since its publication, with some people finding its vivid depictions of violence, particularly rape, offensive, its language "vulgar," its sexual content, especially the scenes involving women making love to women, deviant, and the characters' attitudes towards each other racist.
These opinions of the book were not shared by the Pulitzer committee, which awarded The Color Purple the prize for fiction in 1983.
Various school boards in some places across the country, and in one case, one specific member of a school board, have banned the book from being taught in classrooms for the reasons cited above. It likely could be fair to say that this book should be taught with historical context, and is not appropriate for young readers. However, we need to continue to ask ourselves if "banning" a work that is clearly a superior work of fiction is the appropriate action to take—and if so, why.