#5: ‘Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do YOU want?’
We’ve probably made it abundantly clear by now that The Notebook quotes are very much centered on what you—yes, YOU, the reader—want.
Instead, let’s talk about why so many of us DON’T follow Sparks’ advice in real life. We’ve already talked about how his works can be sentimental, romantic wish fulfillment, and how following your heart in real life can have unfortunate consequences—but why?
Obviously because it has a tendency to make a mess of things, but again, if that’s really what we want, as The Notebook quotes seem to indicate, then why do we care about that so much? Well, think about the internal logic of Sparks’ argument towards self-interest here.
You should go for what you want, so do what you want. But all of us want to survive, we ALL have a natural drive towards self-preservation. Self-preservation sometimes conflicts with emotional wants. As such, going after what we want as a living creature—that is, to survive—sometimes conflicts with emotional wants.
The book seems to take a strong stance in favor of personal gratification at the expense of self-sacrifice which is a theme in a few other works we’ve mentioned thus far, notably Twilight and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
However, this form of sacrifice doesn’t always get in the way of love; on the contrary, it is often portrayed as one of the utmost expressions of it. A dark example is a parent sacrificing their life for a child—emotionally nightmarish? Absolutely.
Would just about every parent do that for their child? Absolutely. Would someone truly in love sacrifice their life for a partner? If they really were truly in love, there’s a strong possibility.
So why are The Notebook quotes stacked against that view? Because, again, this is escapism, and self-sacrifice—be it healthy, unhealthy, or otherwise—implies consequences, which are the bane of Sparks’ romantic ideal.