Peter Van Houten

The alcoholic writer

Peter Van Houten is an important character in John Green’s novel The Fault in Our Stars. He is a writer and the author of An Imperial Affliction, which is his only book. He comes from the Van Houten family, which is very rich. The family discovered how to dissolve cocoa in water in the seventeenth century. The branch of his family moved to America a long time ago.

Van Houten is an unkempt man and has an alcoholic belly. "His face and belly were so round, and his arms so skinny, that he looked like a dough ball with four sticks stuck into it." (Chapter 12, 6%). He starts drinking alcohol very early in the day and doesn't seem to be in his right mind in other ways either. But he doesn't seem to want to accept the fact that he is addicted to alcohol.  " 'I do not have a drinking problem,' he announced, his voice needlessly loud. 'I have a Churchillian relationship with alcohol' " (Chapter 12, 24%). His manner is very rude and mocking. At their first meeting, he behaves very inconsiderately and rudely toward Hazel and Augustus.

Van Houten moved back to the Netherlands ten years ago, after the publication o...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in