The Decent Proposal

The Decent Proposal


A struggling Hollywood producer, Richard Baumbach is twenty-nine, hungover, and broke. Ridiculously handsome with an innate charm and an air of invincibility, he still believes good things will come his way. For now he contents himself with days at the Coffee Bean and nights with his best friend Mike (that’s a woman, by the way).

At thirty-three, Elizabeth Santiago is on track to make partner at her law firm. Known as “La Máquina” The Machine—to her colleagues, she’s grown used to avoiding anything that might derail her quiet, orderly life. And yet recently she befriended a homeless man in her Venice neighborhood, surprised to find how much she enjoys their early-morning chats.

Richard and Elizabeth’s paths collide when they receive a proposal from a mysterious, anonymous benefactor. They’ll split a million dollars if they agree to spend at least two hours together—just talking—every week for a year. Astonished and more than a little suspicious, they each nevertheless say yes. Richard needs the money and likes the adventure of it. Elizabeth embraces the challenge of shaking up her life a little more. Both agree the idea is ridiculous, but why not?

What ensues is a delightful journey full of twists, revelations, hamburgers, classic literature, poppy music, and above all love, in its multitude of forms. The Decent Proposal is a heartfelt and often hilarious look at the ties that bind not just a guy and a girl but an entire, diverse cast of characters situated within a modern-day Los Angeles brought to full and irrepressible life.  (Summary and cover courtesy of

Please note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of the publisher.


I expected this book to be a quick light read, but it certainly ended up being slightly deeper than I anticipated.  The characters are complex and intriguing even if I didn’t like them at all points in the story.  Mike in particular I found full of herself and annoying.  Despite that, the characters worked together well and built off each other for better or for worse.

The author had a tendency to step out of the characters and describe their internal monologue (or scenery) and this came off as jarring to me though I would imagine others would not mind it as much.  Valuable information was presented this way, but it pulled me out of the story so I never felt completely invested.  I liked the way things wrapped up, but the epilogue-esque last chapter came off as extremely cheesy to me the way it was presented.  Those things aside, this was a decent standalone read that would be good for a vacation read.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Folks looking for something along the lines of chick lit, but will appeal to both sexes.