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Can I ask why you don't want to use them? I use Express and Cloudant (couchDB) myself but its very similar to mongo. Both are great and do a lot.
Have a feeling you'll be hurting yourself by skipping those parts
"I tried and it didn't go well": quitting learning a new tech like that is a pretty bad way to start learning something new. Theres a reason why those were picked.
"I was asked not too": name and shame that psychopath here now!
as regards your main issue, can't help, i'm an Angular man myself