Study Guide

Campbell Alexander in My Sister's Keeper

Campbell Alexander

Campbell's Stew

Campbell Alexander is Anna's attorney, the one she hires to sue her own parents. He agrees, maybe because of his own unresolved parental issues, and because he's a nice guy on the inside, despite being a prickly jerk on the outside. He's a good attorney, and he ends up getting Anna the medical emancipation she wants. Done. Now that we've summarized that part, let's dig into the real juicy stuff—the prickly jerk part—shall we?

This being a Picoult novel, of course the woman chosen to be Anna's guardian ad litem (a person Campbell will have to closely work with) turns out to be his college girlfriend and—ehrmegerd, guys—one true love. Fate, in the form of a thirteen-year-old organ donor has drawn them back together.

Campbell has stewed over Julia Romano for years. On the streets, he sometimes mistakes women with long dark hair for Julia, so when she finally shows up, we have to wonder if he thinks he summoned her as though he said Beetlejuice three times fast. Their relationship in college was magical, youthful love… until Campbell ditched Julia on graduation day.

Julia (and we the reader) are kept in the dark about why Campbell ditched Julia until the very end: He had a car accident, which gave him seizures, and he thinks this makes him inadequate to be with Julia.

Wait, what?

Seized by Love

Okay, if you think this is a completely ridiculous reason to dump someone… well, we agree. But it makes sense for Campbell. Here's why.

Campbell's parents were total a-holes, giving him ridiculously low self-esteem from an early age. His father's philosophy was, "If you weren't perfect, you simply weren't" (3.1.46). Collapsing into an epileptic fit? Yeah, not perfect.

Also, he pushed himself hard to be independent and successful—so did Julia, that's why he likes her—but unfortunately, he cannot rationalize the fact that being in a relationship with someone does not necessarily take away their independence. He worried that by being with Julia that "she would no longer be a truly independent spirit" (7.1.3) and he just couldn't bring himself to be the cause behind this.

Campbell starts to change when he sees himself in his young client, Anna. When he tells her that he "stopped wanting to be like [his parents]" (7.5.95), Anna totally relates, saying "You were invisible, too" (7.5.96). As Anna becomes independent despite being so closely intertwined with her sister's disease, Campbell, too, realizes that he can keep going despite having his own disease. He ends up marrying Julia in the end, and he, Julia, and his dog are probably living happily ever after.

Here Comes the Judge

Wait, dog? We have to mention one of Campbell's defining characteristics: his service dog, Judge. Judge always follows Campbell around even though he won't admit exactly what Judge's service is. Campbell wisecracks that the dog is bilingual (5.1.87), keeps him away from magnets (1.1.9), helps him with his color blindness (5.2.70), and a few other ridiculous things. We can't tell if Campbell's insistence at making up ridiculous lies about his service dog is obnoxious or charming, but we guess concocting tales lies is second nature for an attorney.