The second thoughts, and in some cases second lives, which succeed the accident in which young Steve Benedict (21, Princeton and Park Avenue) almost kills his friend Saxe Barnwell are followed in an alternating narrative- from the viewpoints of all involved. And while the story itself shows a certain amount of conversational featherbedding, it affords a reliable middle class, middle brow entertainment. Picking up the pieces are; Steve, definitely guilty, and his remorse keeps him close to his friend's hospital bed in Baltimore throughout the next summer; his father, a crass, successful business speculator who now heads to South America and lands in the middle of a revolution; his protective mother, Maude, who had ""abdicated"" years before and whose existence has been slurred by the cultured gentility inherited from her father; Saxe's girl, Elizabeth, who opposes his impervious mother at the beside; and of course Saxe himself, who will never walk again. There's lots of life adjustment for all concerned with a fair amount of gift wrapping --sophisticated spot references (Descartes or Bardot), a little bourbon philosophizing and a touch of sex and romance. All of this assures its suitability for a well established, if not entrenched, woman's market.