Little knowledge of Mandarin Chinese is needed to read this book and to begin to acquire the language.
The story is given in pinyin (in Latin letters), which helps the reader with pronunciation, and also in both simplified and traditional Chinese. A glossary with notes is provided in the back of the book as well as an English translation of the story.
Harry, a young American, goes to Beijing to learn Mandarin. At the same time, a young Korean woman named Min-Jee also goes to Beijing to learn Mandarin. At first, since they have no common language,