The Help is the story of three women in Mississippi during the early 1960's, two black women who work as maids, and one white woman who doesn't really fit in. Together they begin writing a book about what it's like working for the white women of the town. Fearful for their lives, as well as the well being of their families, they change their names and the name of the town in the book. The book collects the stories of other maids as well, telling both the good and the bad of working for the white women.
Of course, the white woman doing this, Miss Skeeter, also has to be careful. If her friends and family found out what she was up to she would be ostracized at the very least.
The really interesting thing about this book is when it takes place. Both of my parents were alive (although quite young) in the 1960's. That really put everything into perspective for me: this kind of thing was happening within their lifetime.
The Help is an excellent character novel, giving you a glimpse of what it might have been like in Mississippi during the 1960's. And while you cannot take this as truth (it is a work of fiction based in reality, but it is also written by a white woman; Kathryn Stockett admits at the end of the book that she really doesn't know what it was like for these women working at that time), it really was a good book that is worth reading.