When it comes to Harry Potter, I'm a self-confessed nerd.
Just like the millions of other Pottheads who grew up reading J K Rowling's books, I dreamt of receiving a letter on my 11th birthday telling me I wasn't an ordinary child, and that my future would entail never washing a dish again, attending school in a castle and casting Bat-Bogey hexes on those I didn't like.
And also like millions of other children, the day after my 11th birthday was a sore disappointment.
Now Rowling, the woman touted as responsible for inspiring a generation of children to read in a time where television and computers prevail, has taken the next step in her career. Her new novel The Casual Vacancy hit stores late last week, and despite sales of the book in the millions, was expectedly criticised by reviewers the world over.
The Daily Mail hit back at the class issues in the novel calling it a "socialist manifesto masquerading as literature" and accusing Rowling of portraying "poor underclasses as plucky but blighted, and the British middle classes as a lumpen mass of the mad and the bad".
The same reviewer noted that teenagers in The Casual Vacancy, whose "liberal use of the F-word, their determination to be bad, to have unprotected sex, to take drugs" would shock a younger Harry Potter audience who sought to read the adult novel.
Another review courtesy of the Telegraph said the novel "pretty much explodes towards the end, losing shape in its fury at the dirty, unfair England that we Muggles have made for ourselves".
And while most applauded The Casual Vacancy, others criticised Rowling's relentless use of death juxtaposed against Harry Potter's good-will-prevail-in-the-end themes.
While I can see how it may have been a shock to see this novel come from the same person who brought us house-elfs, expelliarmus and butterbeer, to say the adult themes in The Casual Vacancy could upset audiences is both insulting to readers and Rowling.
It's saying the audience of Harry Potter is not mature enough to understand or deal with adult themes, when children are already exposed to these at a young age through various television, film and game formats. And while the heptalogy was initially aimed at children, throughout a decade of publishing the books morphed into rather morbid literary works. If Harry had been to a psychiatrist throughout the last three books, I think it's fair to say he would have been diagnosed with clinical depression.
The 'Boy Who Lived' is as much Hogwarts' rebel as the drug-taking teens of Pagford are. If you took Potter at face value you would see a squeaky-clean, four-eyed do-gooder, but in the world of witches and wizards, Potter is as radical as he is an over-achiever. He skips class, faces expulsion in nearly every book and drops out of school early.
And there's nothing new about Rowling straying into politics in her works. She did the same with Harry Potter - the society in which Hogwarts resides is based on the whole premise that evil Lord Voldemort wants only "pure-blood" wizards to learn magic, and where people of mixed magical and non-magical blood (mudbloods) are thought of as lesser beings.
This aspect has always reminded me of the structures of the Third Reich. Were Hitler's views considered child-friendly? I'd say not.
Even the way The Casual Vacancy is written - the sentence structure and, in particular, the use of adjectives are reminiscent of Harry Potter to the point where I got a sense of deja vu while reading it.
Through the eyes of someone who has endlessly re-read the Harry Potter books, the impression I got from The Casual Vacancy is that it's actually more similar than dissimilar to Harry Potter, and Rowling has successfully translated her writing into adult fiction for a world eagerly demanding she do something new.
And even if you don't like the new Rowling, she's hinted her next book will be another aimed at children, so you needn't worry anyway.