2. The Orange Picnic
“What’s with all the orange?” I asked, still not wanting to let myself imagine that all this would lead to Amsterdam.
“National color of the Netherlands, of course. You remember William of Orange and everything?”
“He wasn’t on the GED test.” I smiled, trying to contain my excitement.
“Sandwich?” he asked.
“Let me guess,” I said.
“Dutch cheese. And tomato. The tomatoes are from Mexico. Sorry.”
“You’re always such a disappointment, Augustus. Couldn’t you at least gotten orange tomatoes?”
Many of us remember this scene as the moment where Hazel (and female readers and some male readers) unofficially falls in love with Augustus Waters. Because of Hazel’s obsession with the book An Imperial Affliction, written by a Dutch author, Gus surprises her with an orange picnic in the park to salute the Netherlands. Gus has clearly put some thought into this Grand Romantic Gesture, because everything – from the tulips to the plaid to the cheese on the sandwiches – is orange.
Except from the obvious orangeness of the scene, it is also very memorable because of its sweetness and one can only hope that the scene will be as gentle and funny and unexpected in the adaptation. It is surprisingly easy to overplay Gus, with his cockiness, his pretentiousness, but also his sweetness and hopefully Ansel Eglort will do Gus’ memorable characteristics justice.