Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 536
When they arrive in Amsterdam, Hazel, Augustus, and Hazel’s mom take a taxi to the Hotel Filosoof. It is a charming old building with rooms named after philosophers. After they check in, Hazel is too tired to go anywhere. She urges her mom to go out to see a nearby park, and then she lies down to take a nap. When Hazel awakes many hours later, her mom is still in the room. She admits that she did not go anywhere. All she has seen of Amsterdam so far is the guidebook.
Peter Van Houten has left a message for Hazel and Augustus offering to buy them dinner at a fancy restaurant. Hazel dresses up in a pretty sundress, and Augustus puts on an expensive suit. They go to a restaurant called Oranjee, where they start the meal with champagne. They both decide they like it, and the waiter tells them they are “tasting the stars.” Augustus and Hazel spend the meal exclaiming over the gourmet food, which is like nothing they have ever tasted before.
During dessert, Augustus admits that he believes in some kind of afterlife. Hazel is surprised that someone so smart would believe in such a thing, and she asks why he is afraid of oblivion if he does not think death is the real end. He says:
If you don’t live a life in service of a greater good, you’ve gotta at least die a death in service of a greater good, you know? And I fear that I won’t get either a life or a death that means anything.
This statement stings Hazel, who is currently in the process of dying for no good reason whatsoever. She points this out angrily, and Augustus apologizes. He admits that he was thinking only of himself when he spoke.
Hazel and Augustus soon get over this argument, and they leave the restaurant and sit on a nearby bench. They discuss what might happen tomorrow when they meet Peter Van Houten, and what they will learn about the events that follow his story. During the conversation, Augustus seems to be in pain. When Hazel asks about this, he says it is nothing.
After a while, Hazel asks about Augustus’s former girlfriend, Caroline. Augustus explains that Caroline died of brain cancer. The kind of tumor she had is sometimes called the Asshole Tumor because it makes people act mean. When Augustus met Caroline, this meanness was just a sort of witty bitchiness that he rather liked. The two of them bonded by criticizing everyone else, and he felt special being the only person she treated nicely. But as Caroline’s condition worsened, she became cruel to everyone—including Augustus, who could not bring himself to break up with a dying girl. He obviously feels uncomfortable criticizing a dead person, but he makes it clear that his relationship with Caroline was not one of the happier periods of his life.
After hearing about the pain of Augustus’s relationship with Caroline, Hazel comments that she does not want to hurt him that way. This makes him smile. “It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you,” he says.