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In this Very Special Edition of Danielle Steel’s running internal monologue, Steel’s Thanksgiving turns dark. “We all know what it’s about. You’re supposed to eat turkey and a lot of food, and be thankful for your blessings. Seems simple enough, right?” writes Steel. “Not always.”

“Within hours” of a routine visit to the dentist, Steel “discovered what appeared to be a betrayal by someone I have known for nearly 20 years,” an incident which registered “a severe jolt to what I think of the human race.” In desperation, Steel retired to her immaculate beach home, decorated with curios from the Second World War, to reflect on the tragedy of human existence.

Writes Steel: “on Saturday, to clear my head and get some air, I went to my beach house, and was greeted by a rug I have there with a quote from Anne Frank woven into it. It says ‘In spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart’.” After close inspection of the Holocaust victim rug installed in her summer home, Steel came to a realization that revealed a stunning comparison between Frank’s character and her own: “Some people do some really rotten stuff, but that’s the point, ‘some’ people, not all people,” writes Steel. “And even in the midst of a bad experience, I have faith in my fellow man.”

Satisfied, Steel returned home to celebrate the storied act of devouring a “golden turkey, delicious stuffing and all the trimmings, surrounded by people you love who treat you well.” But even as the American pastime marched on, Steel had the unsettling feeling that her efforts to find something to be thankful for was but a farce necessitated by the annual holiday. “I went to the dentist, which is never my favorite pastime (although it wasn’t too bad),” Steel writes. “But it turned out to be the happiest event of my day, and my week.”