There was a lot of information that was left behind in the making of the movie. For instance, the whole “Moon Lady” chapter was completely absent. The viewer also never learns how Ying-Ying St. Clair’s husband died, or how she spent her time living with her second husband in a new village. The movie never shows how the twins are found in Suyuan. I don’t recall, but I’m fairly certain that they didn’t bring up how Lindo and An-Mei met in the fortune cookie factory. Waverly Jong’s son, and her first husband, are not shown, nor were her ideas of having her son aborted. There were many things that were not mentioned in the movie, but that has to be expected, even if they did miss some important stories.
Some things were there, but were slighted, or changed. Ying-Ying had aborted her unborn baby in the book, but in the movie, she drowns him after carrying him full term. At the end, Jing-Mei took a boat, alone, to China. In the book, she goes with her father, on a plane, and they stop at some relatives’ house for a day.
I didn’t at all expect for the movie to be a carbon copy of the book, but the things that they left out didn’t seem to change the effect of the story.