Jing-Mei, who represents the author, grows up in two cultures, American and Chinese. As a child she embraces the American culture, but cannot deny the other side of herself. When she becomes an adult she feels the need to know more about her Chinese roots. What she learns ends up giving her more respect for her mother’s traditions and way of life.
The novel is a unique depiction of the relationship between mother and daughter, what it’s like to live far away from your original roots and how it feels to plant new ones.