The Underminer: The Best Friend Who Casually Destroys Your Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

Successful, gorgeous, and beloved by everyone you know, the Underminer remembers your every foolish ambition and humiliating mistake-and never fails to remind you. The Underminer makes you feel suicidal. But the Underminer is your friend. Mike Albo and Virginia Heffernan do us all a public service by capturing the elusive evils of an age-old archetype. To understand and resist your toxic friend, you need The ...
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The Underminer: The Best Friend Who Casually Destroys Your Life

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Overview

Successful, gorgeous, and beloved by everyone you know, the Underminer remembers your every foolish ambition and humiliating mistake-and never fails to remind you. The Underminer makes you feel suicidal. But the Underminer is your friend. Mike Albo and Virginia Heffernan do us all a public service by capturing the elusive evils of an age-old archetype. To understand and resist your toxic friend, you need The Underminer.

Who is the Underminer?
"An insincere, name-dropping predator with a rise so meteoric that you feel like crawling into your sad little apartment and eating gallons of ice cream right out of the carton while sniffling over reruns of old Bette Davis movies."-New York Times Book Review
"A character that is so malicious, so insensitive and sadistic, that we can only gape horror-struck as every venomous phrase rolls off her tongue."-Rocky Mountain News
"A psychological predator of the highest order. A viper cloaked in velvet. The Shaquille O'Neal of schadenfreude."-Boston Globe
"An ego-skewering, passive-aggressive blowhard of indeterminate gender, surfing annoyingly along the breaking waves of pop and consumer culture-from dot-com to New Age, from hip-hop to a yurt in Afghanistan-always on top and armed with a put-down."-New York Times
"The 'friend' who somehow manages to turn every compliment into an incredibly subtle insult, thus making you wonder whether you are truly the most neurotic person in all of Manhattan-or if your friend is just, well, evil."-New York Post
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
As heard on This American Life, here's a little something for any who've ever had a "friend" whose amazing life made their own seem pathetic. Set up as a one-way conversation, with the protagonist never heard but always painfully felt, the story takes some generationally specific insecurities and spins them into a novel about growing up in the 1990s and never getting anywhere. The never-heard-from victim is a woman graduating from Clarkwell College in 1990 and doomed to make a career out of a degree in Folk & Myth, only to be subjected to a series of interactions over the following years with the titular Underminer, a diabolically manipulative "best friend" who's always there to remind the victim just how ludicrous her life is, though she's never without a smile on her face. Underminer reminds the victim of her relationship missteps ("they were really close all through freshman year before you grabbed him I mean pinned him down I mean started dating him"), fashion miscues, personal hygiene problems ("Did you throw up? No, no I just smelled throw-up for a second") and weight issues ("You look sexy the way your body looks now. You're not too fat"). The dialogue rolls forward through 15 years, the victim bumping into the Underminer at every passing cultural signpost (indie filmmaking, Burning Man, Internet dating), always half a step behind and terminally clueless. Her friends all go on to bigger and better things while her band comes to naught, her poetry doesn't pan out, and before long she's a cater-waiter at glamorous parties the Underminer is almost too cool to attend. Comic monologist and fiction author Albo (Hornito, not reviewed) and Heffernan, Albo's co-writer and TV critic for theNew York Times, skillfully mine the slacker generation's insecurity-with its need to be in on the next big thing without appearing to care-and add a spicy dash of psychological tension as the Underminer cheerfully chips away at every facet of the victim's desires and achievements until little is left. Yet funny. The rare one-joke book that never gets old, with a pleasingly tangy aftertaste. Agent: Tina Bennett/Janklow & Nesbit
Cintra Wilson
"Whether your Underminer is an actual nemesis or merely the voice of a particularly ornery self-loathing, Albo & Heffernan have done humankind the favor of nailing the bastard, with wit and style in excelsis-cringier than a ninth grade PE humiliation, more scouring, compassionate and incisively lamenting of the human condition than a four-day acid trip hosted by Oprah, and hilariously upbraiding of pretentious trends in a way that will make you involuntarily blow your soy-chai frappaccino through your nose. I can think of no more priceless stocking-stuffer for that special insensitive someone. The Underminer beats a bucket of Paxil, six months of therapy and an exorcism-it bestows the healing gift of revenge."
Malcolm Gladwell
"I started laughing with the first sentence, didn't stop until the last sentence and then, randomly, for the next week, the slightest reminder of one of the zillion funny lines in The Underminer would set me off again."
Margaret Cho
"Hilarious and sick, The Underminer is one of those books that makes you insane with rage and laughter. I loved it more than I hate people like this."
Arizona Republic
"Diabolical…it makes you chuckle, but it also makes you squirm."
Boston Globe
"The narrator of Mike Albo's new novel is a psychological predator of the highest order…[Drawn with] sharpness and hilarity."
Chicago Tribune
"A treasure…You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll wince with recognition…Wickedly funny…richly detailed and pitch perfect."
Entertainment Weekly
"Albo's jokes punch hard."
New York Observer
"Pitch-perfect...The Underminer is a compressed comic classic of New York…Nasty. But fun. And very funny."
New York Post (Hot List)
"Everyone has one: the 'friend' who somehow manages to turn every compliment into an incredibly subtle insult…Addictive."
New York Press
"…a hyperactive monologist with a gift for capturing the most mundane sound bites in modern conversation and juxtaposing them..."
New York Times
"The ultimate satirist of the downtown New York social landscape...The Underminer displays an astonishing capacity for condescension."
Newsday
"Fascinating… enormously funny… perfectly pitched…The Underminer is a small voice whispering in your ear, 'Read me.'"
Paper Magazine
"…a poet's ear, a novelist's eye and a speed freak's tongue, Albo is downtown's fast-talking monologist…a wizard with words and refreshingly sweet..."
Philadelphia Inquirer
"Scathingly funny...It's an era made for the Underminer."
Pittsburgh Tribune
"Rapid-fire rants, skits and anecdotes, [Albo is] a sharp satirist."
USA Today
"A novel masquerading as a self-help book—or is it a self-help book masquerading as a novel?"
Washington Post
"It's classified as fiction, but anyone who's lived it will know the novel is anything but imagined."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596917071
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/10/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,243,709
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Mike Albo is a writer and performer who has brought his comedic monologues to venues all over the country and abroad. His first novel, Hornito, was published in 2000. Virginia Heffernan, who writes with Albo for his performances, is a television critic for the New York Times.
Virginia Heffernan, who writes with Mike Albo for his performances, is a television critic for the New York Times.
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Table of Contents

Bright young things 1
Cool days 13
New on the scene 25
Single in the city 35
Hangover 47
Natural health 53
The fat flush '90s 63
Art stars 75
Inner odyssey 85
Life after death 97
Loyal companions 101
In the real world 113
Wartime 123
Office job 131
Settling 139
Starting over 157
Epilogue : a gathering of friends 161
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Wow -- Great book.

    I have a friend who is exactly like this that I have known since high school (10 years). She makes comments that are specifically designed to make me feel like crap. This book has shown me this, and now I really do not speak with her as openly or as often as I used to. I would recommend this book if you have the type of toxic 'friend' that eats away at your self-esteem the one that always seems to want to 'knock you down to size' and make sure you 'know your place' in comparison to them.

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