Any woman who’s dated or been involved in romantic relationships knows a cad or two – those men who only think of themselves (players). Every woman hopes to someday meet her very own prince or ideal man. But what a woman really needs is a best friend, the one who will love her unconditionally and who she can depend on.
Danielle reads her daily meditation: "God answers prayers. Although God’s answer is immediate, the particular way it unfolds may take time." Nothing epitomized her life better than this nugget of faith. In this raw memoir, Danielle Coulanges evinces plentiful faith, drive, and determination.
A gorgeous woman of Haitian descent living in New York City, Danielle has creative, sensible, loving, and charitable qualities. But the voice in her head keeps asking, "What’s wrong with me?" Danielle picks through her childhood and past choices to uncover answers. Realizing that devaluing her self-worth has trapped her in a tumultuous business and love relationship she decides to walk away. Starting over will be a breeze, she thinks. Thirty-something, she just needs a new man, her own business, and lots of money to embark on a wonderful life.
Instead, she thrashes about in choppy and unfamiliar waters to survive. Her dreams continue to elude her. Juggling work, business, and dating pushes Danielle to exhaustion. Then unexpected, life-altering events force her to reexamine her values and beliefs. Through the process, she emerges with an unshakable faith, respect for herself, and attitudes that finally place her on the path that God intended for her all along.
“Enlightening and Inspirational!”
“A great read!!!! A great ride!!!”
We all have our weaknesses—those little traits or human foibles that paralyze with fear when we should flee or cause us to jump up and do foolish things when we should instead sit down and assess our options.
Self-esteem issues, problems in relationships and the search for meaning in life are very popular topics in the advice columns of women magazines, in talk shows and reality shows. Many of us struggle with one or a variety of these issues. I chose to explore my personal battles on these subjects in this book.
My frailties affected my life in one form or another. Low self-esteem caused me to accept less as what I deserved. A relentless drive to get rich led me to lose perspective of my values. My complete and utter ignorance of what a “real man” should be guided me to the wrong choices.
These elements inﬂuenced my decisions and actions for a very long time, until one day I realized I didn’t like the places they took me to. Some of those were cast in shadows, others were unbearably dark.
My transformation didn’t happen overnight; rather there were plenty of “Aha” moments, followed by “Ouch!” episodes succeeded by other “Aha” in alternating progression until one day I stood victorious. I’d learned to live by faith.
This book is about that journey. It is a true and candid personal account of my life that focuses on a particular tumultuous decade. I share it with you in the hope that if you too face challenges similar to mine, you’ll ﬁnd the courage to remove from your life those things that are destructive to your spirit in order to purposefully claim the life you want and deserve. However, unless you have the wisdom to do so, you will continue to dwell in places that will eventually cause your physical or spiritual demise.
I dedicate this book to all of the women—mothers, daughters, wives and sisters—who struggle with self-worth. The psalmist David tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are all priceless in the eyes of our Creator.
It is also for those of my sisters who consistently wish for a “nice” man yet relentlessly pursue the opposite by choosing style over substance when it comes to a man’s character.
Individually we go through situations that we mistakenly perceive as being unique, but human nature being what it is, they are not. We repeat the same experiences, only in different scenarios and with different people. That’s why it’s possible to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
My story bears witness that one can in fact alter the course of one’s life.
The intimate details included here are the kind one would only impart to a best friend. I bare it all as an invitation to you to be my best friend. Please take this journey with me.
My prayer is that as you read through these pages you are inspired to make the necessary changes in your own life, to leave the dark places and let your spirit walk into the light that God has been patiently waiting to shine on you, his priceless masterpiece. Step out on faith and claim your rightful place in the master designer’s spotlight, fully realized!
October 26, 2002
There I was on a Saturday night, alone and in a sour mood.
My plans for bigger and better were falling into place and the life I always wanted finally appeared within reach, when somehow, everything in motion was put on hold for reasons beyond my control.
Here we go again. Why do these things always happen to me?
I walked around the house feeling morose and disenchanted.
Whenever I felt overly judgmental and unappreciative of my current circumstances, I tried to get a more objective perspective on things by comparing earlier periods of my life with where I was at a particular time. That night was one of those times when I hoped that exercise would help me shake the sense of disappointment that assailed me. I located my old diary, settled into bed and started leaﬁng through it.
I read the date entered on the very ﬁrst page—October 26, 1992—and gasped. My God! It’s been exactly ten years.
How uncanny that I would decide to look at this diary that night of all times, exactly ten years to the date I started it.
As I read through the pages of my self-therapy sessions, often times scribbled in the middle of the night, the anger slowly melted away as it was replaced with relief and thanksgiving. How insigniﬁcant the current temporary setback appeared when compared to what laid before my eyes: the trauma of a separation, the struggle to keep ﬁnancially aﬂoat, the search for the self I no longer knew, and the loneliness, that sheer vacancy that kept me constant companionship…
Forgive me Lord God for being ungrateful. How dare I complain now that I’ve been given so much?
This was no coincidence. It was meant for me to see these events once more.
“Remember, remember them well, and see whence I brought you from!”
Hudson Reporter - New Jersey - 7/25/2008
A long journey to happiness
Jersey City author debuts memoir 'Cads, Princes, & Best Friends'
Hilary Morris - Reporter Correspondent
“Through her story of struggle and redemption, [Coulanges] hopes to share what she calls the butterfly phenomenon.”
To read full article Click here
Caribbean Life – Brooklyn/Staten Island Edition
October 8, 2008
Book Review by Arlene McKanic
Why are smart women so often taken in by cads and rascals? This is one of the questions explored in Danielle Coulanges’ memoir, “Cads, Princes and Best Friends.”
Born in Haiti, Coulanges came to the United States when she was young and started a career in the fashion industry where she meets a man who would be referred to as “Joe.”
He’s one of the “cads” of the title, and cad must be considered a polite way to describe him. He’s a bit older than Coulanges, but wildly ambitious, handsome, and best and most devastating of all, incredible in bed.This, Coulanges believes, is what kept her tied to this creep through all of his schemes and hurtful and outrageous affairs.
At one point Coulanges finds a much younger woman in her bed, something neither the girl nor Joe thinks is anything of a big deal.
Coulanges finally quits him with the help of her steadfast friends, especially Annie, who she helps later on when she has some romantic and financial misfortunes of her own.
Also supporting Coulanges is her family, a fascinating bunch who are loyal in their own quirky way. There’s the author’s punitive mother, who disparages her for shacking up with a man she’s not married to, even though she’d done the same thing (and as a result was left with basically nothing when the father of her children was murdered).
The sections of the book where Coulanges grows close to her mother in her last years are moving. There’s Coulanges’ sister and her daughters, who compensate, somewhat, for the author’s regretted childlessness, and her brother, ever down on his luck and probably manic depressive.
After Joe is out of the picture-more or less- the author touches on other dramas in her life. She describes the constant struggle to make a go of her fashion business, which she eventually gives up, the worries about money that lead to bankruptcy, and the triumphs and troubles at her jobs, including one time when she was fired after training her replacement, who happens to be white.
Coulanges writes of her deepening religious belief, and her eventual learning to let go and trust in God. More men appear and disappear, including a nice enough chap named Milton, and then Henri, one of her “princes,” and a fellow Haitian, courteous, patient, considerate and warm. Coulanges worries that he is almost too good to be true. Is he?
"Cads, Princes and Best Friends is a memorable journey told by an intelligent, strong and vulnerable woman.